Geraldine O'Reilly

Kathleen Lynn, Insider on the Outside

As part of the decade of centenaries O’Reilly received a commission from Mayo County Council to make artwork related to the work and life of Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a native of the county.  Doctor Lynn was a republican and a member of the citizen’s army involved in the 1916 rising. She set up her own hospital to cater for the poor infants of Dublin City. It was the first hospital to administer the BCG vaccine for TB.  O’Reilly created a triptych of A1 size drawings using conte and graphite on Indian handmade paper. Drawing 1.  I refers to St. Ultan’s infant hospital which she set up with her friend Madeleine Ffrench Mullen – the drawing shows Doctor Lynn holding four malnourished infants.  Drawing 2. Titled Mullaghfarry –   it shows her home place outside Ballina now derelict. Drawing 3. refers to her pragmatism when it comes to fund raising for the hospital. Despite being a Republican she accepted a donation of a goat from Lady Carson (wife of Edward Carson, Unionist Leader). The goat was named Carson and a cot donated by the family of the executed Republican Rory O’Connor asked that the cot be named after him. So I called the drawing ‘Carson the Goat and Rory O’Connor the Cot’.