Kathleen Lynn was a medical doctor, who was involved in the Irish suffragette movement, the 1916 rising, the foundation of the Irish state and the establishment of the first infant hospital in Ireland. I’m not going to go into her fascinating life and history here, as my colleague Harriet Wheelock has done a far better job than I ever could in the RCPI Heritage Centre Blog.
What I want to talk about here is something that struck me about the collection of her diaries from 1916 – 1955 which are held by The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Heritage Centre.
In spite of being heavily involved in so many aspects of the formation of the Irish state, Kathleen also managed to find time to write at least one line about almost every day in her life.
The picture above shows two pages from one of her diaries. It may be difficult to see it here, but you should be able to make out that each line, across both pages, is devoted to a different year. Kathleen’s style is unusual to me, what she did was devote two pages to a particular date, and then returned to the appropriate pages every year to make an entry. I use Twitter fairly often, and I’ve noticed the number of words in her entries are approximately the same as the amount allowed in a Tweet. I’m pretty sure, if she was still around, we would find Kathleen Tweeting merrily. And the content would surely be far more interesting than the average “I’m at xxx pub with xxx “
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