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

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.

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