Thursday 20 June 2019

The Field Hospital at Merrion Square

This is the story of the field hospital at Merrion Square that was hastily set up during the Easter rebellion to cater to the wounded from both sides of the battle.

Sir Robert Woods and his wife, Lady Margaret, lived with their family at No. 39 Merrion Square. Sir Robert Woods was an Ear Nose and Throat specialist and a surgeon at Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital. His medical clinic was located at No. 40 Merrion Square. As casualties mounted during Easter Week, this building was hurriedly converted into a field hospital.

Robert Woods, grandson of Dr. Robert Woods, reads from a long and detailed letter written by his aunt, Molly Woods, about her day by day experiences during the Rising.

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She is writing to her brother Thornley who is fighting with the British Forces in Flanders and who is later to lose his life in the Great War. Into the letter she has drawn some detailed diagrams of the positions of the Irish rebels and of the British forces in the area close to her home.

Dorothy Dunlop, who now lives in Belfast and is the daughter of Molly Woods and Professor Gilbert Waterhouse of Trinity College Dublin, describes the memories and the extraordinary stories handed down to her through her family.

Fascinating details are provided about the running of the temporary field hospital at No. 40 Merrion Square and about the defence of Trinity College by her father and others during the Rising. At that time he was a lieutenant in the Dublin University Officer Training Corps.

After the fighting, he was presented with a sword by the grateful business people of Grafton Street for his efforts in preventing the destruction of the street, and saving it from the dire fate of nearby Sackville Street. The sword remains with the family today.

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