[SAINT ULTAN] Leabhar Ultáin. The Book of Saint Ultan. A collection of pictures and poems by Irish artists and writers, compiled and arranged by Katherine MacCormack with numerous illustrations. Dublin: The Candle Press, and Sold for the Benefit of Saint Ultan’s Hospital by Martin Lester, Ltd., 78 Harcourt Street, 1920. Quarto. pp. 32, 8 (plates). Brown stiff wrappers with pictorial dust jacket. A very good copy of a most attractive book.
Designed and printed under the direction of Colm O Lochlainn, and sold for the benefit of St. Ultan’s hospital by Martin Lester (pseud. Bulmer Hobson). With eight tipped-in plates by Jack B. Yeats, A.E., Paul Henry, Grace Henry, Patrick Tuohy, Mary Duncan, Estella F. Solomons and Cecil Salkeld. Illustrations in text by Maud Gonne, Anna Griffin, Evelyn Gleeson, Lily Williams, W. MacBride and Beatrice Elvery. Poems by An Craoibhín (Douglas Hyde), Susan L. Mitchell, Nancy Campbell, Seumas O’Sullivan, Beatrice Elvery, Joseph Campbell, Alice Milligan, Nell Byrne, Thomas Bodkin, Geraldine Plunkett, and Katherine MacCormack.
St. Ultan’s, in Charlemont Street, Dublin, was the hospital opened in 1919 and founded by Dr. Kathleen Lynn, to cater for the children of Dublin’s poor.
Kathleen Florence Lynn (1874-1955) was an Irish Sinn Féin politician, activist and medical doctor. She was born in Mullafarry, County Mayo, to a Dublin Church of Ireland family and educated in England and Germany before graduating as a doctor in 1899 from the Royal University of Ireland.
An active suffragette, labour activist and nationalist, Lynn was a member of the Irish Citizen Army and chief medical officer during the 1916 Easter Rising. For her part in the rising she was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, with her friends Constance Markievicz, Madeline ffrench-Mullen and Helena Moloney. In 1923 Lynn was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for the Dublin County constituency at the 1923 general election. She lost her seat at the June 1927 general election.
Lynn’s medical career was defined by her work at Saint Ultan’s Hospital for Infants, which she established in Dublin in 1919, with a group of female activists. Colm Ó Lochlainn was on the organising committee. Lynn’s work with Dublin’s inner city poor had convinced her of the need for a hospital to provide medical and educational facilities for impoverished mothers and infants. Earlier in her career Lynn has experienced discrimination in applying for hospital position due to her gender, and Saint Ultan’s was the only hospital in Ireland entirely managed by women. Saint Ultan’s Hospital grew rapidly, and from 1937 became the centre for BCG vaccination in Ireland. The hospital closed in 1984.
Lynn lived in Rathmines from 1903 to her death in 1955, sharing her home with her friend and confidante Madeline ffrench-Mullen. She died in September 1955, and is buried in the family plot at Deansgrange Cemetery. In acknowledgement of the role she played in the 1916 Rising and the Irish War of Independence, she was buried with full military honours.
Lynn’s personal diaries for the period 1916-1955, and the administrative papers of Saint Ultan’s Hospital are held by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland archive.