“A mháthair dhílis” – Ellen Daly’s correspondence with her children

Image

On International Women’s Day, we drew your attention to the extensive and exciting Charlie Daly Collection from County Kerry because the majority of correspondents in this collection were female.

 

Charlie Daly (Cormac) to his mother Ellen, 30th June 1922
Charlie Daly (Cormac) to his mother Ellen, 30th June 1922, Charlie Daly Collection P41/2/1/13, Kerry County Archives

One particularly prolific letter-writer in the Daly family was in fact Ellen Daly, Charlie Daly’s mother, who took a keen interest in Charlie Daly’s republican engagement and the activities of all her children.

She was the family’s centre of communication and ensured that her sons and daughters, as well as their many friends, were well informed of what was going on in the others’ lives.

Charlie Daly (signing his name ‘Cormac’) frequently addressed her as “a mháthair dhílis” (‘loyal mother’) and kept writing to her although he wasn’t sure that his letters would actually reach her:

Letter P41/6/1/6 from the Kerry County Archives was written by Ellen Daly to her daughter Susan and shows her fond relationship with all her children. Ellen Daly addresses Susan’s health problems and her upcoming final examinations, but she also talks about the many relatives and friends who join them in remembering “poor Charlie”.

Ellen Daly to her daughter Susan Daly, May 8th 1923
Ellen Daly to her daughter Susan Daly, May 8th 1923, Charlie Daly Collection P41/6/1/6, Kerry County Archives

After several months of imprisonment in County Donegal, Charlie Daly was executed in March 1923. Ellen Daly’s letter to Susan is dated May 8th 1923 and marked by the family’s shared grief over Charlie’s death.

However, Mrs Daly also relates good news to her daughter. The family’s friend Kattie Allman, another prominent correspondent in the Daly Collection, has finally taken her religious vows and is now called Sr. Gertrude. This letter is a fine example of the many social connections which the Daly family shared, and it encapsulates the mother’s prominent role in this interesting network.

We welcome your help in finding out more about the women who corresponded with Charlie Daly.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day | Letters 1916-1923

Image

What were people saying when they put pen to paper to write letters on St Patrick’s day in 1916?

Thanks to the Letters of 1916-1923 database, we can get a snapshot of the words written on this day a century ago.

Letter from Denis Hurley to his brotherA quick look at the letters written on this day, shows us a letter written by Denis Hurley to his brother John. Originally from Tawnies, near Clonakilty in Co. Cork, Denis emigrated to Carson City in Nevada in 1873. In the letter, Denis thanks John for “the bunch of shamrocks”. Isn’t it amazing that the shamrock survived the journey!?

Alexander McDowell from the Ministry of Munitions wrote to E. A. Aston, inspector for the Local Government Board (LGB) in Dublin regarding female workers in the local linen industry. From his letter, we learn that only one Belfast firm at that time employed women on munitions work.

In a third letter, Alexander G. Crawford writes to Matthew Nathan discussing a local school principal from Coleraine. The principal in question has had a very positive effect in his forty five years of service, even going so far as to pay for the up keep of the school from his own purse.

To read any of the letters, click on the images above or click here to browse the EXPLORE database yourself.

If you find any more St Patrick’s Day letters in the collection, let us know!

 


Thanks for the bunch of shamrocks


Letters written by Patrick or Patricia in the Letters of 1916 collection

As it’s St Patrick’s Day, we had a look through the Letters of 1916 collection in search of letters written by people named Patrick or Patricia.

Letter from Patricia Lynch to Hanna Sheehy Skeffington | © NLI
Letter from Patricia Lynch to Hanna Sheehy Skeffington | © NLI

We found only one Patricia in the whole collection:

Patricia Lynch (1894-1972) was an Irish nationalist and supporter of the suffragette movement. While living in London she befriended Sylvia Pankhurst who reportedly sent her to Dublin in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising to gain an eyewitness account for the Worker’s Dreadnought. Her piece in the Worker’s Dreadnought was later reprinted as part of a pamphlet entitled Rebel Ireland published by the Workers’ Socialist Federation.


Here is a selection of letters written by Patrick from the collection:

A letter from Patrick Langford Beazley to his son Piaras Béaslaí wishing him a happy St. Patrick’s day. This letter discusses the number of men who’ve ‘gone to the colours’ or enlisted with the British Army. Patrick also writes of the ‘terrible’ death of W. McCarthy, who perished in a car accident.

A letter from Patrick Alphonsus Carroll to the Army Veterinary Service with a completed application for a commission as an officer of the Army Veterinary Corps.

A letter written by Patrick Pearse, one of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rising, in December 1915. The letter was probably written to the printer Joseph Michael Stanley, and refers to the printing of Christmas cards.

St Patrick's Day Postcard
detail from a St Patrick’s Day Postcard © National Library of Ireland

A letter from Patrick J. Little, editor of the New Ireland newspaper. This letter was written a week before the Easter Rising and encloses copies of ‘Secret Orders issued to Military Officers’.

This letter was written by Patrick Sheehan, a labourer in County Cork, who was injured while carrying a bundle of empty sacks down a stairs.

Letter from Patrick Blair Carphin to his sister Jo Carphin, 28 April 1916 (Private Collection)

A letter from Patrick Carphin, a native of Rathgar in Dublin, to his sister. Carphin gives a detailed description of the Easter Rising as he saw it and tells how he and his daughter were wounded by crossfire.

Carphin letter quote

In this letter, Patrick Clarke writes regarding his fourteen year old son, Patrick James Clarke (b. 1902), who has a ‘horror for school.’ Patrick hopes to get his son on a naval training ship, as his job takes him out of the home and the boy’s mother is unable to keep him out of trouble.

A letter from Patrick Foran, an Irish prisoner of war in Germany. Foran thanks Lady Clonbrock for a parcel of socks she had sent him. Augusta Caroline Dillon (née Crofton) was 75 years old at the outbreak of the First World War. She worked closely with the Irish Women’s Association to send basic necessities to Irish POWs. Many of her care packages went to members of the Connaught Rangers imprisoned in Limburg near Cologne.


To find more letters in the Letters of 1916 collection, search our database by keyword.