A letter from Susan Fitzgerald (1891-1980) to Michael Gorman.The letter was written while Michael was in the Agricultural College and Susan commiserates Michael on the loss of his mother after a long illness. She mentions that she had joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.), a voluntary organisation providing nursing to wounded British army soldiers, but that she would not like to stay in Maryborough (now Portlaoise) to train.
Michael Gorman was one of a large Catholic family living at a farm in Ballinalug, County Laois (then Queen’s County). Susan Fitzgerald was one a Church of Ireland family living in Raheenahone House near Stradbally, County Laois, also in the Slieve Bloom mountains. At the time the letter was written they were involved in a courtship but owing to the religious difference the love affair had to be kept secret. Eventually both were in Dublin: he in the Albert Agricultural College in Glasnevin (where he eventually became Professor of Agricultural Botany and Biochemistry and she as a volunteer nurse in the Royal Hospital in Baggot Street. They eventually went to London to marry.
Denis McGrath, private collection
"Letter from Susan Fitzgerald to Michael Gorman, 8 January 1916". Letters of 1916
. Schreibman, Susan, Ed. Maynooth University: 2016. Website.
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