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Katie Hannon and guests talk about the proposed National Women's Museum, Kathleen Lynn's legacy and the forthcoming book The Diaries of Kathleen Lynn. Liveline, RT� Radio, Oct 2023. Listen back here 'One of the most overlooked female figures in Irish history.' In this episode of Nationwide, RTÉ, Anne Cassin, Mary McAuliffe and Harriet Wheelock discuss the legacy of Dr Kathleen Lynn, 8 March 2024. Watch the full episode here.

The Diaries of Kathleen Lynn
A Life Revealed through Personal Writing

Mary Mcauliffe (editor)
Harriet Wheelock (editor)
Soft Jacket,
Publication date:
30th October 2023

Author Biography

Mary McAuliffe is a historian and Director of Gender Studies at UCD. Her latest publications include Legacies of the Magdalen Laundries: Commemoration, Gender, and the Postcolonial Carceral State (2021) (coeditor), Margaret Skinnider (Life and Times Series) (2020), and Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland (2015) (co-editor). She is a past President of the Women's History Association of Ireland and is a member of the Humanities Institute, UCD. She was awarded the 2023 FoyJustice Award by UCD LGBTQI+ for her work on the Irish Queer Archive (IQA) and her research on Irish queer histories and sexualities.

Harriet Wheelock is Keeper of Collections in RCPI, with responsibility for the management and development of RCPI's Heritage Centre. She worked as an Archival Student in the National Library of Ireland and completed her MA in Archives and Records Management from UCD. She is currently a PhD student in the TU Dublin School of Art and Design, where her research focuses on the development and historiography of RCPI's heritage collections.


The diaries of Dr Kathleen Lynn, 1916-1955, cover her involvement in the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, the Civil War, and the formative three and a half decades of the Irish Free State. They demonstrate the revolutionary, socialist and feminist fervour of a radical revolutionary woman, what motivated her and the work she did for women, workers, and Ireland. The diaries, held in the archives of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), reveal the often-difficult road that radical political women forged in the new Irish Free State, which viewed women through the constraining lens of marriage, motherhood, and domesticity. The diaries are also revealing of the supportive networks of political women, who worked together for social and political change. Central to the diaries is Lynn's vital work in St Ultan's Hospital for Sick Infants which she co-founded in 1919. Her diaries demonstrate vividly the number of women who led advances in medical care in the first decades of the State alongside Lynn. The diaries also record her family and personal relationships, especially her lifelong relationship with fellow suffragist, revolutionary and social campaigner, Madeline ffrench-Mullen.

Few political women of the revolutionary era and Irish Free State have left behind as substantial an archive as Dr Kathleen Lynn. The publication of these selected extracts from her diaries are a move to readdress issues created by past archival practices which have, in many cases, marginalised or silenced the voices of women. The diaries add not only to our knowledge of the life of Dr Lynn but also to the histories of female activists, female networks, and intimate female lives in the Irish State during its formative decades.

FOREWORD by author Emma Donoghue.