WEEK 4: (22nd – 28th October 1917)

They went over the Constitution then & passed it as it stood on the book, & Emer sent a note back to me, asking me to ask on what franchise wd the Constituent Assembly be elected, as the English one parliamentary one wd exclude women & clergy. Griffith answered that plainly”.

NLI Call Number: MS, 3582/32
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: Oct 1st 1917 – Dec 9th 1917

WEEK 4:  22nd – 28th October 1917


Monday 22nd Oct.

Saturday 20th Oct. – I forgot it was this afternoon I went up to visit Charlotte, & found her entertaining Katie and Anne entertaining a Salvation Army officer who was showing her photos of soldiers – her boys she called them – & talking about them all the time. When Katie was gone I told Charlotte about Dorothea’s discussion club, & she expressed a great wish to join, & said it was just want she would like – real freedom of discussion. It seems she spends a lot of time attending on her father now. Katie asked who was it true that Griffith & De Valera were coming here, & said she would like to see them. We were talking about character reading & graphology too.

De Valera March 20 1918 - Copyright of NLI - Ref P_WP_2753_R
Mr Eamon de Valera, M.P. portrait sitting – c. March 1918 – (Source: Image Courtesy of National Library of Ireland, Poole Photographic Collection POOLEWP2753)


Monday 22nd Oct. – I went to town in the morning afternoon, & visited J. Ayres. & called on the carstand Powers, & ended up at the hotel. Marie was home again, & Mrs Power had gone to Droichead Atha. I had tea with them, & went to the Fianna hall in Thomas’s Hill to a meeting of the reception committee which is preparing for Mme de Markievicz’s visit next month. It was very late starting, & very large. They put M’Donald in the chair, & decided to have a supper at the Metropole on the night of the 3rd, after a review of the Fianna. 5/- per ticket. I walked home with the powers, & they had taken a great dislike to poor K. Hicks, whom they had seen for the first time. 


at the committee.

Tuesday 23rd. –Very cold day. We went up to Washington Lodge in the evening to discuss Vulgarity, & didn’t get to it till nearly 9.30. Mr Coade entertained us (D., T., Mettrick & us) very well, partly with an account of a cow she once had when they lived in the country somewhere, who would not be milked unless a man was by to overawe her, & Mrs C. had, to on one occasion at least, to disguise herself as a man & stand before the cow & growl at her to keep her quiet. She tried to lasso her hind legs too, but the cow jumped out of the lasso. Mr C. was to have brought their lonely friend Mr Noble, but he was too dry to come at such a late hour. I had


to open the discussion, and was quite unable to give any clear definition of vulgarity. Mr Mettrick said it was coarseness of mind & lack of aesthetic taste, & D. said it could always be traced back to a superficiality of mind, which is true, but people can be superficial without being vulgar. It made a most interesting discussion anyhow. While we had supper Mrs C. talking about spiritualism etc to me, she is psychic herself, & believes in some spiritualism; she lent me a little book full of remarkable instances of communication, with names & addresses. It seems that house is more or less haunted, though its fairly new, but they’re not very clear about the story. Mr Coade is a tall, rather good looking


man with grey hair & moustache.

Wednesday 24th Oct. – I went up to Át. Cliat by the 3.55 train. There were 2 girls in the carriage who made me sit with them & eat grapes & sweets & smoke cigarettes; I found one of them was going to be trained as a teacher in a Birmingham convent; she came from near Dungarvan & when I asked her had she Irish she talked Irish to me nearly the whole way from Cille Cainnig to Át. Cliat, about the Sinn Féin meeting in Dungarvan, & the Convention, & soldiers, & O’Connell & God knows what all. She was shocked to find the Convention wd not be all in Irish. There was a hurricane in Dublin, I had to keep jamming on my hat with one hand all the time I was walking, & I was in an awful state of untidiness when


I got to Moyne Rd. Mrs ff.M. had been expecting me from Ranelagh station. We had tea, or I had tea, & Douglas talked about the Convention & how he just failed to be chosen as delegate from his club, but got himself made a steward. Mrs ff.M. took me over to see Madeline [sic] after tea; she & Emer & Miss Duffy & someone else, I think, were all in the diningroom directing circulars about food. Madeline was sent to bed & we visited her there, but didn’t stay very long. I think Douglas had more conversation then, but I was sent to bed early.

The Mansion House, Dublin City, Co. Dublin (Source: Image Courtesy of National Library of Ireland, Laurence Photographic Collection, LCAB04736)

Thursday 25th. – I got down to Dawson St about 10, & met Mrs Connery going in as Press. There was a queue of delegates going in at the door in the wall, & a small crowd looking on 


The room was full when I got in, but after a while I got a most luxurious seat next Mrs Clarke on one of the settees on the raised part near the platform. Griffith opened the convention with a long speech from the chair, reviewing the situation; very good, with his usual quiet restrained power & effect of only saying less than he could, but you’d imagine from him that he & the old Sinn Fein crew had done everything, & no credit to Easter Week at all.

They went over the Constitution then & passed it as it stood on the book, & Dr Ly Emer sent a note back to me, asking me to ask on what franchise wd the Constituent Assembly be elected, as the English one parliamentary one wd exclude women & clergy. Griffith answered that plainly. That whoever the franchise


was, it would include them, which is the straightest statement he has ever made on the point. They passed Madam’s resolution about keeping du separating from English labour organisations whenever possible, & Ginnell’s about demanding compensation at the Peace Conference, & the doctor asked me to lunch with her, but it was only a bread & butter & coffee meal, so I got no dinner at all that day. The election came on in the afternoon. Madam objected to MacNeill being proposed for the Executive, said he Connolly told her he cut the ground from under their feet, and he signed the proclamation before he counter gave the countermanding order, & they don’t want that sort his sort of mistakes to happen again. Griffith defended him warmly, saying he only


Studio portrait of Countess Constance Markievicz in uniform with gun. C. 1915 (Source: Image Courtesy of National Library of Ireland, KE82)

wanted to save young men from a holocaust, & he & Milroy praised up Mac Neill’s sense and moral courage till an indignant voice demanded were the men who died moral cowards? Most of the delegates were making smothered interruptions [and protests] thro’ Madam’s speech. Emer then backed up Madam in her calm reasonable deliberate way – I believe it was she said we didn’t want [the danger] mistakes like that being repeated, & some fool asked did that mean we were to have another rising. Mrs Clarke swore her husband told her Mac Neill signed the proclamation; De Valera then jumped up & said one of the executed men told him he did not (applause) & Madam said it has to be reprinted in Liberty Hall on Monday morning to take his name off, & M. Collins was just getting up with a very fierce face, evidently to

[Superscript: Griffith resigned the presidency in favour of De Valera, the only other candidate.]

Eoin MacNeill: Half-length studio portrait (Source: Image Courtesy of UCD  Digital Library, School of History and Archives. Desmond FitzGerald Photographs © University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Dublin.


support her, when Griffith closured the discussion, saying Mac Neill was not on trial. Mac Neill himself never spoke. I don’t know why the country is so fond of him, if not out of gratitude for saving their lives. The election proceeded then, & counters were appointed, & then came Cathal Brugha’s & De Valera’s organisational schemes – frightful complicated things, with details & important ideas all mixed together so that I couldn’t disentangle them all, & sounding more alike than I believe they were. The crowd went into them with great relish & understood them wonderfully well. We adjourned at 6, & I went home part way with Mrs Ceannt & called for her in Oakley Rd going back, & saw Ronan who looks less fat than his


photo. Mrs C. is very nice. The Convention went on till 10.30, all about the organisation schemes. De Valera’s was chosen, & exhaustively discussed; he jumping up every minute to set sight on somebody’s erroneous idea of it. I left at 10. Douglas developed a bad boil this day, came home early from the Convention & went to bed.

Friday 26th Oct. – When we got going this day, with De Valera in the chair the results of the elections were read out. Pres, De Valera, Vice pres, Griffith & Father O’ Flanagan (the latter I think ought to have retired before the election in favour of Count Plunkett the 3rd candidate; it was not becoming to have him thrown out). Secs – Darrell (x) [2] Figgis & Austin Stack, Treas, – Ginnell (x) & Cosgrave, (x) Executive Mac Neill, Cathal Brugha (x). De Hayes, Milroy,


the Countess (x), Count Plunkett (x), P. Bearlaor (x), M’Guinness, Finian Lynch, H. Boland, Dr Lynn (x), J.J. Walsh (x), Jos. M’Donagh (x), Rev, M. Ryan, Rev. J Wall (x), Mrs Clarke, (x), Diarmuid Lynch, D. Kent, Seán T Kelly, Dr Dillon, Grace Plunkett, Seán M’ Entee, Eannan de Blatha (?) & M. Collins. X are those I voted for. It as a disgrace Mrs Wyse Power was not elected, & I could wish Fr. Fullerton had got on too. But it looks well only to have two 3 priests in the whole set out. De Valera made a long speech, partly justifying rebellion theologically; not half as good a speech as Griffith’s the day before. Then they went on about the organisation scheme, & spent the whole morning at it. Mrs Ginnell, Miss Carney of Belfast 


[and] I were sent out to the corridor early, to give out handbills about the danger of De Valera being arrested, to the people coming out. Then I went & dined at the vegetarian, & came back to find hardly a soul in the hall. A reporter who worked close to me all the time got arguing with me about the S. F policy – said he believed in it except for withdrawing the members from Westminster. He also put a hypothetical case of a Protestant Sinn Feiner & a Catholic Home Ruler in a Board of Guardians election. Were Catholics to be expected to vote for the former? This rather rattled me, it seemed so like what Unionist pamphlets say. There was a lot of time wasted that afternoon in choosing temper-


-ary sec. in place of Austin Stack. It was suggested to take the next man on the voting papers, but Griffith & De Valera wouldn’t hear of it, & Mrs Clarke said to me she believed Seán M’Garry must be the next man, & that was why they objected to it. He is an anti-clerical, it seems, and so is Mrs Clarke; she said shocking things to me on that topic, but she thinks the country is improving that way and becoming more independent. There was a resolution of thanks to Dr Fogarty for some letter re Ashe, & Milroy, re this, spoke of the frightful loss Dr O’Dwyer was to the nation. M’Garry, in seconding, said that Ashe was a greater loss than Dr O’Dwyer – so he must be an anti-clerical. Mr Clarke told me O’Dwyer was very much against the


Fenians & generally opposed her uncle John Daly too. It was 4 pm when they got to the Branch resolutions, & a lot of them had to be left to the Executive to decide on. The one about compulsory Irish at Executive meetings was thrown out, a sign of sense. They were resolutions about cattle & reafforestation, etc – I forgot them all. Miss Griffin was trying to catch the speaker’s ear to suggest making some pronouncement on old age pensions to allay the fears of pensioners, but she couldn’t get a word in. We were dismissed at last at about 6. [Superscript inserted above: with the soldier’s song & cheers]. I went home & got tea & put on my blue silk gown & went back to Belgrave Rd, & the Dr took M. & me in the motor to Countess Plunkett’s


reception of women delegates. Madeline had a lovely pink gown and a necklace of little crystals set in silver. The doctor had a national costume, dark blue & white. We found several people drinking tea in Countess P.’s dining room, most of them in coats and skirts – Emer, Mrs Clarke, 2 Miss Griffins, Bridget Davis, Miss Carney, Eileen Williams etc. E.W. is an English-looking woman with a perpetual smile and a blackish sort of gown; I didn’t realise it was she until afterwards. Miss Plunkett was there too of course. We were taken up to the drawing room then (the house is full of pictures & beautiful things) & Countess P. talked to me & told me the houses on both sides were empty, possibly because people didn’t like living next door to


them. She took the chair & Mrs Ginnell was secretary. The doctor & Mrs Clarke had gone off to an Executive meeting by that time. Mrs  [extended blank space] described how the women delegates comprised all women delegates to the Plunkett Conference & this convention & future ones, & their object was to link up all the women in S.F. Clubs & encourage them to be active & educate themselves & take part in all the political life of their districts – & to link up other women’s organisations too & encourage all to work to [superscript:  do feminist work] together. They are going to get out a series of pamphlets explaining to women what they cd & shd do. They formed a committee of 12 (treasurer & sec. but no president) to meet regularly in Át Cliath. Any country delegate who is in town can attend the meetings of the committee.


They mean to try & have one of the S.F organisers a woman, which I think wd have a great effect on the women in the country clubs she visited. But Countess P. let everyone talk at the same time & it was nearly as hard to get a word in there as at the Convention. Mrs Ginnell had to do all the chairing that was done. They had a very brilliant idea of women in S.F clubs in the country – seemed to think all that was needed was for them to join the clubs & then they wd work just like me. Miss Griffin said our first business shd be to teach men modesty, & that their behaviour was sometimes frightful – in the way of talking too much & never giving women a chance to make themselves heard. It was


after 11 when we left, & a bitter cold night.

Saturday 27th. –  I [Superscript: visited Madeline first] went to meet Lasiar Fhiona by appointment at her place in Dawson St at 1 (Miss Griffin was in the tram & told me a lot about their S.F. club in Kilkee; she owned the rooms, & she insisted they should have a female official & committee member for every male) but the door was shut & I couldn’t make myself heard, so I went on to Westland Row, & she arrived there in a few minutes, very anxious, having found that the door was shut. We went back then to the Veg. restaurant & had a nice dinner – Tomatoes & lentils & then went to Liberty Hall to look at the communal kitchen there. It is upstairs, & was pretty full just then, a big room with light painted walls with chalk drawings on them, a counter


at one end, & tables & forms in the middle. The kitchen proper is beyond. Miss Perolz was presiding, & appeared glad to see us. Emer and Miss Nugent were having their dinner, & some of the shirt girls were waiting on the others. We stopped talking a little while & then went off to Westland Row & so to Delginy [sp.?]. There was a girl in the train reading Doreen, & she took a dreadful time to turn a page. Miss Somers gave us tea and Miss Walsh was in the kitchen with Togs, who is quite paralyzed in his hind legs & lies on a bed with a rug over him always, & is very cross & barky on account of it, & no wonder. After a while I went to visit Lucy & Mary, & found them alone in their drawing room, sewing, with no lodgers.


They were very polite to me, & I said nothing about the Convention. They said they had May and Bobby to tea lately, and apparently they do be very affectionate or Bobby does at least. Iris is teaching 3 kids in Bray now; living there, & seems to be pretty comfortable. She was staying at St Anne’s lately, & entertained the company, including lodgers, very much with an imitation of Nina & Louis talking to each other. They said a ^former servant of theirs went to Ashe’s first funeral & enjoyed it like a theatre, & also saw him lying in state in the church & said “he was lovely, with curly hair,” in a letter she wrote them. I went back to the Somers’s then, & presently left & got home at quite a respectable hour. Douglas was still in bed, rather worse this evening.


I think, & requiring a good deal of attention from his mother.

Sunday 28th October. – Fine cold day. I went over to Garville Rd about 12, & found J. Webb & Eileen W. both there with Cousin D. I cannot say I was much taken with E.W.; she is kind of patronizing & sentimental, & smiles far too much. D.W. asked me to tea on Tuesday evening, & showed me a favourite book she has which she wished me to write in then – it was very interesting. E.W. would not write in it on any account. She and I had a disagreement about Mme de Markiewiez & Mac Neill while J. W. read aloud a letter to D. W. They had 2 watercolours by J. Addey; one of Cashis Lane & one of the parlour at Clongarry, with Aunt Is. sitting on the sofa; not a


bit like her, but the room was very good. I came home to dinner, having heard that Madeline was to be there, but she wasn’t well enough to come. I went to Bni Cualann by a 3.15 train from Ranelagh, & the train was packed when it came in, though R. is the first station. Harry & F.H met me, but they also met two Northern friends of Lily’s, Annie Watson & Annie Black, who had come down on a visit as well, & I wish to God they had come some other day. They were not a bit interesting, & prevented me from getting much good of Harry & Lily except for half an hour or so after F. H had gone to bed, when Harry was showing me books with pictures of various buildings, pictures etc, in Paris. Lily did not look either well or badly


as far as I cd see, Sean is a plain but well looking baby, & has dark hair so please God he may turn out nice looking. He is very different from F. H; F. H. has his hair cut, & its much straighter than it used to be, & he has on knickerbockers; & the only time he looked at all pretty was when he was dressed in a nightgown & red jacket, eating a biscuit just before going to bed. Of course no attention could be paid to anything but these two till they were both put to bed. Lily has a lovely raised bath for washing Sean in before the fire. Then she talked to the 2 girls & I talked to Harry about the Paris pictures & borrowed Ibsen’s Ghosts from him to see was it as bad as the Independent made out. The


Northern girls were in the train with me all the way home.