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.


  • World War 1: 1914-1918
  • Love Letters


Institution: Denis McGrath, private collection
Collection: NULL, NULL

Citation & Contributors

Susan Fitzgerald. "Letter from Susan Fitzgerald to Michael Gorman, 8 January 1916". Letters of 1916. Schreibman, Susan, Ed. Maynooth University: 2016. Website.

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From: Susan Fitzgerald
To: Michael Gorman
Date Sent: 08 January 1916

Subject: Letter from Susan Fitzgerald to Michael Gorman, 8 January 1916
Friday Night
My dear Mickie

I was awfully sorry to hear of your Mother's death. It must be a great relief to her to be at rest, considering how much she has suffered and what a longmass card from Nonnie time she has been ill. It is a very sad time for you. I hope you are not worrying too much. I was away staying down at Ballybrophy and only arriving back last night. How are you getting on? I was delighted to get your nice long letter last week, & I'm sure you couldn't miss me half as much as I miss you. I often think of the very pleasant time we had together. I had al letter from the Matron saying she might be able to have me in February & I 'm looking forward to seeing you again even though it may be only occasionally I might be staying in the Nurse's Home, Mary's Rd. I wonder where is that?

I have joined the V. A.. D. Maryborough. The Commander wanted me to stay & get experience in Maryborough, but that just wouldn't appeal to me in the least. I was expecting McAuley over one evening last week, but M r Barrett motored over to say he alone had to go to England & I don't know if he is back yet. Did he ring you up. I believe they're going to Cahir soon & that is an awful hole — not even a Picture House . I have a few q

With love Ever Yours