WEEK 74: (7th – 13th April 1919)

“I went to Dr Lynn’s & visited her & Madeline at breakfast, & they told me the true inwardness of the De V. reception fiasco. It seems it was all arranged by a few of the I.R.B. inner ring in the executive, & Ald. Kelly even knew nothing of it till he saw the arrangements with his own name underneath published as officially ordered. So now the movement is saddled with the obloquy of the failure. They seemed to think it wd be brought up at the Ard Fheis but they were very mistaken. I had just got a seat in the round room when MacDonagh came beside & talked to me, & he got on the same subject & said the headquarters are going to blazes with caballing & intrique.”

NLI Call Number: MS, 3582/35
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: 29th October 1918 – 11th September 1919

WEEK 74: 7th – 13th April 1919

Monday 7th April. I finished the ring with the green stone at the Tech, & got The Master of Greylands at the Free Library. The train was at 2:20, & Miss Connolly the nurse was in it, going to Át Cliat en route for Tallow, leaving Porcláirge [Irish sp.] for good. She had 2 men with whom she carried on great laughing & flirting, & one of whom a brother of Canon Furlong gave us cigarettes all round & was extremely gay. The other got out at Cille Cainnig, but Miss C


& Mr Furlong went on flirting most of the way to Át Cliat. I went to Maxwell Rd & had tea & went to visit J. Webb. E.W. had been much worse lately, & was not expected to live more than a day or two, but she has a very strong heart. J. W. gave a frightful account of the way she was a week ago. J. W. herself has been very weakly & is so, but did not look quite so bad as I expected to see her. She says that the maid & nurses seem mostly to have a great predilection for Dermot, who I suppose comes visiting there sometimes. They say he is the one they like best of the family. Aunt Is. seemed to me rather low, as they call it, Aunt N. has to supply all the equanimity & cheerfulness.

Dr. Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine ffrenchMullen. (Image from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland)

Tuesday 8 April. A very fine bright morning. I went to Dr Lynn’s & visited her & Madeline at breakfast, & they told me the true inwardness of the De V.

(123) reception fiasco. It seems it was all arranged by a couple few of the I.R.B. inner ring in the executive, & Ald. Kelly even knew nothing of it till he saw the arrangements with his own name underneath published as officially ordered. So now the movement is saddled with the obloquy of the failure. They seemed to think it wd be brought up at the Ard Fheis but they were very mistaken. I had just got a seat in the round room when Mac Donagh came beside & talked to me, & he got on the same subject & said the headquarters are going to blazes with caballing & intrique. It seems when the he etc. brought up the question at the next executive meeting, asking when & how the plan had been arranged, they were told it was done by the Cabinet of Dáil Éireann but had to be officially labelled from the executive. This was a lie, but the Cabinet apparently were willing to have it put on them. Mac apparently thinks resistance is hopeless & that the decent people will have to get out. He spoke


very becomingly about personation & such tricks at elections & said that at the first election no Waterford man wd be a personating agent in Ballybricken, it was all left to him & another stranger, who of course were no use. The business didn’t begin till after 11, then Fr O’Flanagan opened the Ard Fheis & welcomed De V & the rest.

De Valera March 20 1918 - Copyright of NLI - Ref P_WP_2753_R
Photo of Eamon de Valera, M.P. for East Clare taken at A.H. Poole Photographic Studio in Waterford. March 20 1918 (Image from National Library of Ireland, P_WP_2753)

De V., looking very much better for his time in jail, wished to have Father O’F put back in the chair, so that he himself cd speak as often as he pleased, which was done, confound them. There’s something in Fr O’F’s face that irritates me, & Harry Boland has a faint likeness to him. There were reports read, & the chief business done that morning was to deprive us of the right of electing the standing committee & give it to the Ard Comhairle instead, reducing them also from 24 to 15. M’Entee & others spoke against this, but it was done, I suppose because De Valera proposed it. I don’t suppose half the delegates


knew what they were doing, there had been so much technical talk. We broke up for dinner at 2, & Mrs SS & I went to the Vegetarian. She treated of the reception affair too, and says she is not going up for re-election – they are too hopeless. Its queer that the decent party can’t plot & combine as well as the others. She says H. Boland & M. Collins are the ringleaders. She describes also their scandalous attempts to drop the prize essay competition; she seemed the only obstacle in their way. Perolz & Emer both appeared & talked to us in the restaurant the prices there have gone up, nothing under 8′. Voting for secs & treasurers – H. Boland & Austin Stack, Mrs Wyn Power & E. J. Duggan.


I went home to tea & then down to the I.W.F.L. to hear one Cogley on the Soviets & Feminism. It ws very late starting, because of a committee in the next room that wd not break up. It was more Soviets than feminism; he gave a spotless account of them; they are said to have disenfranchised the bourgeoisie, but that term apparently means only those who won’t work or who ’employ hired labour for profit’. Everyone over 18 has a vote & can be elected on the Soviets. The Bolsheviks have started & new Universities in Russia; in the past 200 years only 12 were founded. A lot o He said every country in Europe wd have to choose between Bolshevism & the present state soon & we shd be making up


our minds. There were a lot of questions asked – is housekeeping recognised as work – yes. Is keeping a servant employing hired labour for profit? he seemed to think not; I think it is, unless you keep her as a very well paid lady help, & then I suppose the community wd pay her. One woman asked have the B’s abolished all religion? No. they have absolute freedom of religion or irreligion. Is it taught in the Universities? No. Mrs SS made a speech explaining the demonstration arranged for next Sunday about the kidnapped Tipperary boys, said everyone cd help some way & there were leaflets to be distributed – or was it Miss B.D. at the beginning of the meeting? Mrs SS said she was perfectly aware – there ws a government agent in the room, & she congratulated the Castle on learning to employ women to spy on them, & hoped the women insist on getting the same pay as the men. She


is priceless. Mr Bridgman then started rebuking Cogley & Mrs SS; remarked on the unselfishness of the I.W.F.L. mostly bourgeoisie themselves (!) in desiring Bolshevism & on the discretion of Cogley in the things he didn’t say. He read from the Bolshevik constitution a paragraph disestablishing the Church proclaiming perfect freedom of religious or irreligious propaganda (frightful) & another dis-enfranchising all priests & monks. He ws still talking when I left at 5 to 10, I asked Miss Keevey for some leaflets about the kidnapped children (one of whom is out) & she gave me about 100. I gave some away in the tram & put some in at doors in York Rd. They all began “Irish Mothers” which made it hard to give them away indiscriminately. I was terrible late according to my aunts’ notions.

Wednesday 9 April. I got rid of some more leaflet on my way to the Árd Feis.


The resolution to oppose Proportional Representation at the L.G. elections came up; Ginnell supported it, saying it was all a government weapon against S.F. & wd do more harm in the south than good in Ulster, & shd be fought as a government device though he believed in the principle if we were applying it ourselves. Mrs S.S. opposed a direct negative in an admirable speech, saying she was for it when S.F. was a minority & would not oppose it now, & what a retrograde step it wd be to try to stifle minorities on any plea, & how it wd strengthen the Republican movement in Ulster, which was frightfully important, Ulster Unionism being the one stumbling block to Americans etc, & that it wd also give women a better chance. Eoin Mac Neill followed, all in Irish, saying if we opposed P.R. everyone wd think we did so from fear of it, & De Valera, Madam & Griffith all spoke excellently on the same side. She said we must put


principle before expediency, De V. said the same in different words, saying we must always meet crooked methods with straight ones, & wd go to pot as soon as we left off open honesty (what about the secret caucassing ab re his reception?) & that minorities wd get justice from us. Griffith said he ws the first Irish journalist to advocate P.R. The balance sheet came out this day, & showed an ex  £1300 in hand after the year’s working. Several important resolutions lapsed for want of proposers from the branches that sent them in, including one about a postal service in Át Cliat. There was one priest who went into a fit twice because all the business wasn’t done in Irish. Griffith was in the chair this day – a great improvement on Fr O’F. Madame Gonne MacBride asked Mrs S.S. & me to lunch with her. She lives on the south side, her house is big


& light & sparsely furnished with a style that I suppose is French, & she has a lovely big smooth Airedale dog. She is very thin & worn looking, in black with a long lace veil & a very grand accent; very pleasant & cheerful. Her son is so nice looking though not handsome; looks about 17 though I suppose he is less, & is tall. There was also a very tall slim beautiful girl with a powdered nose & her hair tied down over her forehead, named Iseult & said to be a cousin of Madame Mac B., but Josephine Webb, when I spoke of her the next day, said she was thought there was no doubt but that she was her daughter, and certainly there’s a great likeness. There was a very noble sort of lunch – fish & fritters & meringue sort of things & oranges – & they talked about the demonstration about the 2 kidnapped boys from Tipperary that the I.W.F.L. is getting up for


Sunday; Seán was offering to help about it & arranging with Mrs S.S. what he was to do. He seemed very anxious to be useful. They have a French servant who waits at table, a dumpy middle aged woman. Mme MacB. came with us back to the Mansion House at 3, & we heard De V.’s presidential address. It was very good, the best speech I ever heard from him, I think, but Griffith prefaced it by an extravagant eulogy of him, saying he was the greatest man we have had since Parnell – !! One bit of De V.’s speech I remember – mention of a speech of Dockrell’s at the election in which his only argument against independence was that England had 5,000,000 arguments against it, each armed with a bayonet – very well, let them do their worst – we can endure that – what we can’t endure is that Ireland shd be said to be governed in accordance with the will


of the people. There wasn’t much business after that; a lot of delegates were gone. There was a long discussion about boycotting the police, where the priest before alluded to spoke rather sensibly on the difficulties of it, they being so closely related to so many people. They There was also a resolution asking the Ard Fheis to take measures against immoral literature, which was supported in several hot & silly speeches, but was quashed by a few cool sentences from Griffith – if we are to define immoral literature & deal with it, we may as well give up our political work altogether, etc. One man pointed out that a war on it  immoral literature must be non-sectarian to be any use; no good in the Catholic Clergy under-taking it alone. He also said you must decide what immoral lit. is, & Alderman T. Kelly asked


are betting newspapers immoral? “They are – extremely immoral. They do more harm in Dublin than drink.” I took a liking to that man; he was middleaged & very much in earnest, & had a nice face & voice. It was all over by 6.20. One priest who was very fierce against the police said priests shd refuse to re receive any dues or charity from these ruffians. I’d like to see them! I walked out to Belgrave Rd, owing to the scarcity of trams, & found only Owen in. He showed me standing up paper dolls he was cutting out for Betty Cocran Kettle, & books, & at 7.40 his mother came in. We had tea & they she showed me over the house & garden. Kitchen & dining room [& box room] in basement, 2 sitting rooms on ground floor, bathroom next, then 3 bedrooms, & servants room higher up. The box room was intended for it.


Its all rather untidy. I spoke of my wish to board there for a while when I can leave Port Láirge & she was quite willing. I think I could be useful in some ways. The garden was mostly vegetables, someone rents it for that use. Owen showed me a lot of picture postcard magic lantern slides on a little magic lantern in his room when it got dark. One was the cliffs of Moher. “What does that remind you of? It reminds me of the Metal Man.” And he asked after “the bomb.” He seems to have a very vivid recollection of that time. My aunts talked to me about their scheme of going to live in Waterford, & Aunt Is. was very gloomy about the idea of J. Webb living at Suirview – thought Aunt H. wd kill herself minding her. I think it wd be a godsend to Aunt H. & if J.W. needed much care she shd have an attendant.


Thursday 10 April. More discussion about J.W. & Aunt H. and their coming to live in Portláirge. They must have a house with a bathroom, & very little stairs. I went to see Madeline at 9.45 I found the doctor breakfasting in M’s bed, & being called to the telephone every moment, & M. sitting on the bed, also at breakfast. They talked about the convention, & presently the doctor went to dress. M. says the children’s hospital in coming on, but it isn’t open yet. She finished dressing & went out somewhere, & I visited the doctor downstairs & asked her what to do about my cough, and she said the usual things about teeth & gave me a prescription to paint it with & another for a tonic & sounded my heart & said it was pretty good. I went to Brighton Square then & found E.W. was not expected to live through the day, and J.W. was much the same as on Monday. She


 showed me some photos, mostly Dora Sigeroon & Sast Trinreac, both of whom I’m tired of, but there was a very good enlargement of Chandlee, done by himself. He is getting very good at photography. Then I went to dine at Cousin Deborah’s & had some conversation with her first. She seemed less deaf than in the autumn. I caught the 3.50 train with half an hour to spare, but at present the margin seems necessary if you want a seat at all. There ought to be a limit to the amount of luggage people are allowed put take into carriages. I had. T. met me with the motor, & I had tea with Aunt H. & went up to St Declan’s afterwards. There was a letter for me from Tony; wonderful quick postage. It is the inarticulate people sometimes who write the best letters of condolence. Miss Bowman was staying at


16, she has been rather ill lately.

Friday 11 April. – I went to the Tech & worked at the pin of the brooch. I dined at Suirview, & took Louis out in the afternoon. He had begun to wear short frocks.

Saturday 12th. Went to the Tech again & all but finished the brooch. Just after dinner Bessie Harding called at Suirview to see me; she had come home for a fortnight with her baby. She looked well, but thin. She asked me out to Tráit Mór some day next week with Katie Walpole. I took Louis out afterwards, & when I brought him back I found Bessie visiting D. & she just had time to look at him before going to the 5 train. Aunt Maggie came to Suirview for the week end, arriving about 8.15.

Sunday 13th. Aunt Maggie came to breakfast with me (Miss B. had hers in bed) and told me a wonderful


story of Mr Byron acting a monkey in charades at Christmas. He seemed to do it very well. She told me to be sure & keep some furniture for myself, not to sell it, and she took Many Inventions & Further Experiences and a lace collar & the shamrock brooch which she seemed to like. I went to St Declan’s for dinner, and we all came down to Sview for afternoon tea, but visiting seems to be abhorrent to Louis, and he was very dissatisfied & had to be rolled up & down the garden by Ellie. I went to visit Janie Bell but she was out, & Anna was very silent. I had tea at Suirview & went down to the club later but found nothing on.