WEEK 126: (12th – 18th April 1920)

“A very bad account in the papers of the hungerstrikers in Mountjoy, who were at it a week this day. Mrs Kinsella, who is back in the Mall Lane lodgings again with apparently no intention of going to America, came to tea with Ellie.”

NLI Call Number: MS, 3582/37
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: January 27th 1920 – October 26th 1920

WEEK 126: 12th – 18th April 1920

Monday 12th April – [short hand symbols here]. A very bad account in the papers of the hungerstrikers in Mountjoy, who were at it a week this day. Mrs Kinsella, who is back in the Mall Lane lodgings again with apparently no intention of going to America, came to tea with Ellie. I went to St Declan’s a.t. with some luggage, and found Tony there. He had found no Stephen at Roundwood, only his colleague Lowe, who told him Stephen & he had fought & S. had left the job. Yet he spoke of him as Steve and Stevie & such pet names. Tony had cycled down from thence, stopping the night at Gorey. He seemed to have enjoyed the geological expedition. He said that the lake at Gougane


Barra was supposed to be bottomless, but was measured lately & found to be 38 feet at the deepest point. This fact seemed to afford him great pleasure. Tom was out at a Corporation meeting.

Image taken from pg 76 of “A Week in Killarney”, S.C. Hall, London, 1850 (Courtesy of British Library Flickr)

Tuesday 13th. – Owing to the general strike on behalf of the Mountjoy prisoners, no car could be got for Maya & Brenda this morning, so I went to meet them. The boat didn’t come in till nearly 9. We left the heavy bag at Kate’s & walked up, buying vegetables at Mrs Kelly’s for Brenda, who has had influenza in a form that affected her digestion, and has to live largely on raw vegetables. She does not look 17 ½, being childishly dressed & having comparatively short hair round her shoulders, recovering from being bobbed, but she is good looking, with fine eyes, complexion, & teeth & fairly good features, though as Dorothea observed, her face has too flat a


foundation. Her hair is fairly dark brown, & her eyes almost hazel. After breakfast she & Maya went to bed & slept till dinner time. Maya was well & cheerful; she feels so like one of one’s own family when one meets her, it makes me wish to have much more of her company. After dinner I took Louis down town in the pram, & we met a small procession 3 different times, which I think interested him. I found Maya visiting there when I got back, and she admired Louis very much, especially his power of amusing himelf, which she said Tom had not at his age. She used have to play with Tom at Grange on Sunday afternoons, when she wanted to read. Dorothea was much interested in Brenda’s diet, I think she wd like to try something like it in her own house. Maya remarked on the way home that Tony was worth seeing. I went back to St Declan’s late


in the evening & slept there.

Wednesday 14th. – I went down to Suirview after breakfast and Dorothea came down later, with Tony, to make Brenda’s acquaintance. We went for a walk out the road and found Miss Nesbitt & Louis in May’s Lane. Its queer the way Tony ignores a strange girl. Tom & I took Louis out up the road in the afternoon – this was the day she pushed the plant in a pot off the parlour windowsill when we got back. We heard that the prisoners were all coming out that afternoon & the strike was over – I didn’t expect such a complete victory so soon. Maya talked to me a lot about her mother & Aunt Is. that evening – she thinks both that it has been very hard on Aunt N. having to live with Aunt Is., & that Aunt Is. has made herself necessary to Aunt N. She


says Aunt Is. has the artistic temperament. She was quite interesting. Later on, at St Declan’s, we had the discussion as to the desirability of having £1000,000 which Tom & I maintained against D., who held that it would do you no good & only be a responsibility & a care. Tony at first seemed to think it would be a desirable thing to have, but wasn’t very serious about it, & ended by assuring D. that he was on her side. I only hope that if anyone ever leaves a fortune to D., she will give it all away to Tom & me. It all began with Tony telling about strange feats he had known a man do for money in Lison – be buried, with a pipe to breathe through, for 9 days etc.

Thursday 15th. – We all visited at Bell’s in the afternoon, & Ruth was there, with a parcel she had just received from her father at Buxton, containing a blue necklace which pleased her very much.


How simple it is to give presents to a little girl. Brenda & I went on to St Declan’s then that she might see Louis, and he certainly was lovely in a blue frock & a white pinafore that Mrs Kinsella gave him. Brenda admired him greatly, & also the kitten who is a dream. Louis is not so shy of strange women as he used to be. Maya & Brenda went to visit the Walpoles after tea, & I went up to St Declan’s at 8 to the musical evening they were having. Mrs Ryan was the first to arrive, then Mrs O’Shaughnessy & Mrs Hayden & Evelyn. I believe D. wouldn’t mind having 20 women to 2 men. Mrs O’Shaughnessy did come in later on, & so did Maya & Brenda. Mrs Ryan sang some songs, & she has a fine powerful voice, but I didn’t care about it, or about most of her songs, & she murdered The Sun whose Rays completely. Mrs Hayden


played a couple of times. Fortunately Evelyn does nothing. D. sang the Mother’s Lament & the Cuckoo, which Mrs Hayden is very fond of. I don’t care about the first, though it does show her voice very well. Tony sang Who is Sylvia a lovely new song about a Mill Wheel, and Vulcano song out of some opera, & Oh that we two were Maying, which was delicious. Mrs O’S. played his accompaniments, & as the evening advanced she asked him to sing oftener, & we had quite a good lot from him – a couple of those Indian love songs which I always disliked before, but he made them lovely, and Ever Bravest heart, & Don Juan’s Serenade, which I didn’t think much of. His voice or his way of producing it, certainly is improved by Lacy, it is more easy and sure than ever. He got quite sociable with Mrs O’S. and Mrs Hayden over the music, but not a word to Brenda or Evelyn. Maya &


Brenda left before supper, and I think before the smoking began. Evelyn Hayden smokes, and Mrs Ryan thinks its very ugly & fast looking in a girl – admits she is prejudiced but can’t conquer the feeling. She was very outspoken about it, and Evelyn must have felt her rude, but she kept on smoking anyway. Willie Hayden came in time for supper & reported the streets very turbulent with drunken men suborned by Ballybricken to break Sinn Féin windows, on account apparently of the strike. Mr O’Shaughnessy was more cheerful than I ever saw him. There was a little more music after supper – a couple of songs from Tony for which Mrs OS. must be thanked, and at about 11.20 they left. Louis was very good and slept through it all.

Friday 16th April. – Aunt Maggie came to spend the day & see Maya. Maya thought her looking just the


same as when she last saw her 6 or 7 years ago. Maya & Brenda went to take Louis out in the afternoon and Annie Rodgers suddenly appeared at Suirview & paid a visit – I hadn’t seen her since December. She & Miss Horne are at Tráit Mór now – settled there more or less permanently I think. Dorothea & Tony came down presently to visit with Aunt Maggie, & in time Maya & Brenda returned with Louis, but that wasn’t till nearly 5. Tony sang a couple of songs for Aunt Maggie – he is really awfully good to be always willing to sing for everyone – & she afterwards said that she preferred Ben’s voice though she did say something in praise of Tony’s. She also said she thought Ben handomer than Tony. Louis was very good, interested in the singing & anxious to play on the piano himself, & playing with blocks on the floor part of the time. He was a little shy of Aunt Maggie but not much, & she admired

(67) him extremely. She went by the 8.15 train, & I went up to St Declan’s soon after 9 & found them by great good luck at the piano downstairs. Tony sang a couple of songs – Gaily the Troubadour was one, & it was poignantly reminiscent of six years ago in Cork, and the mill wheel one, and I attempt, which is lovely in a man’s voice. After an interminable conversation with D. about Galway people, he sang the Pilot, which seems to be one of the very first he ever learned, & the Friar of Orders Grey, & part of There is a flower that bloometh, & Annie Laurie, which was delicious. He said he was singing treble in the school choir one day when it suddenly occurred to him to try if he could sing bass, & he did successfully. So apparently he never had any time of broken voice.

Saturday 17th April. – Dorothea and Louis & Tony went


off by the 10.45 to Cork. Brenda & I went to visit Mrs O’Shaughnessy in the afternoon, for me to borrow dance music from her. She has a lovely room, full of pictures and nice furniture; nicer than Grace Bell’s. She talked a lot about Tony’s singing – couldn’t find words to express her admiration of it, we found we had both heard M’Cormack the same time in 1908, and that we both thought him the only male singer we liked as much as Tony.

Image of St. Joseph’s Catholic Boys’ Brigade, Grand Annual Concert, Dublin, Feb 20th 1908. Courtesy of Frank M. Manning Collection of John McCormack Materials IMC M035/199811, Irish Music Center, John J. Burn Library, Boston College. (Flickr)

She said if Nancy had been there too what a feast it would have been, but then drew back and said but indeed you didn’t want anyone else taking up the time from Tony. It was [unclear word] she was there on Thursday night, to keep on asking him to sing, for D. couldn’t do it so well for her own brother. Mrs O’S. gave me some music, and altogether was extremely nice. She seemed to have taken a


great liking to Tony himself as well as his voice. We went home through the nursery which was looking lovely.

Sunday 18th. – Brenda went to meeting with the Walpoles, and Tom & I went for a walk round Farinshoneen lane and talked about pictures & poems. Tom is almost the only person that I ever feel I’m talking well when I’m with.