1916 Diary Entries

Dr Kathleen Lynn's diary offers a unique, first-hand insight into her experiences following the 1916 Easter Rising.



Dr Kathleen Lynn was Chief Medical Officer for the Irish Citizens Army. On Easter Monday she was stationed at City Hall, from which post she treated the wounded. The position was re-captured by the British forces on the evening of Easter Monday and Lynn was arrested and imprisoned in Ship Street and Richmond Barracks, Kilmainham and Mountjoy Gaols. Use the timeline below to read her diary entries made during the first three weeks of her imprisonment.

The entries are given as they are written in the diary. [          ] are used to indicate if there is some doubt over the original word, and to expand the names of individuals mentioned in the entries; Lynn often referrers to her friends by initials or nicknames.

The diaries

Easter Monday

24 April 1916

Revolution. Emer [Helena Molony] and I in City Hall, [Sean] Connolly shot quite early in day. Place taken in evening. All women taken to Ship St about 8.30. Mrs [Kathleen] Barrett, [Annie and Emily] Norgrove[Bridget] Davis & I joined later on by [Bessie] Lynch[Jane] Shanaghan & [Bridget] Brady - we were locked up in a filthy store, given blankets thick with lice and fleas to cover us & some ‘biscuits’ to lie on, not enough to go round.


25 April 1916

Ship Street Barracks. [William] Halpin brought in, utterly exhausted having been in chimney, without food, since evening of 24th.

We objected to lavatory accommodation & heard it was good enough for us, that lice, fleas & typhoid should content us. Another officer had the W.C. cleaned & was quite civil. Had good dinner, same as soldiers.


26 April 1916

Saw Halpin this morning when M. O. promised to send him to hospital at once. Left lying on board till evening.

Asked M.O. for baths & exercise. Saw men prisoners with him, who were much worse off than we, about 30 in a small lock up room, with absolutely nothing in it but a wooden platform, no bedding, no washing apparatus – herded like a lot of swine, poor fellows, M.O. promised baths & exercise & was really kind.


27 April 1916

Heard Halpin died in hospital this morning. Last night had our first night visitor, a drunken prostitute, fired in on us, it gave those who were asleep a great fright. She quieted down soon.

Firing on & off all day – siege fare, bully beef & biscuits, tea without milk. Many tales of headquarters being gassed, burnt out, etc. Very heavy firing all night, we thought place would come down any minute. Much perturbation in barracks, sentries evidently every few yards, challenging passers to & fro.


28 April 1916

Had sardines for dinner which kind hearted sergeant gave us. Molly Sullivan, the prostitute, got out early, she is a soldier’s girl.


29 April 1916

Two chaplains came, I.C. & R.C. The R.C. girls very sad theirs said they couldn’t have Mass, but he promised to say the Rosary with them. Ours said he would give Celebration at 8 a.m. for the two Norgroves & myself. Heard definitely that H.Q. had surrendered & that [James] Connolly was wounded. 

Saturday night/Sunday morning. Terribly excited drunken prostitute brought in, nearly mad, her brother shot Tuesday & she had gone to see body. We couldn’t quiet her. Two soldiers came in, one held revolver to her head, other twisted her wrists, Emer [Helena Molony] jumped up, told him to stop & had revolver turned on her. They were brutal. Deo Gracias they left I gave poor soul morphine hypodermic. She lay down & slept beside me. The remains of decent country women with husband & baby & she loved her brother so.


30 April 1916

Our clergyman came early & said he couldn’t have Celebration, there was no place, I insisted & he had it, a very hurried affair, over in 10 min. I gave him note for L[izzie] Smartt, small hope he will deliver it. He said almost in same breath that we had all surrendered & that streets were impassable on account of our snipers, which can’t both be true. I asked him for prayer book, never got it.

Nurse [Tresson] came in at dinner time & poor prostitute woman got out, with notes for E. Young & L[izzie] Smartt. She was very grateful - I had long chat with her – six of our men got out of Jacob’s early this morning & got unobserved by all but us down Ship Street.