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Dr Kathleen Lynn and her partner left a loving legacy – their names belong on the new national children’s hospital

Martina Devlin


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In 1919 Dr Kathleen Lynn (left) established the first infant hospital in Ireland, St Ultan’s, with her partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen (right).

In 1919 Dr Kathleen Lynn (left) established the first infant hospital in Ireland, St Ultan’s, with her partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen (right).

From left, Liam Roche, a relative of Dr Kathleen Lynn, Cllr Mannix Flynn, Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland, Dr Margaret Ward and Paudge Behan, a relative of Madeleine ffrench-Mullen at the unveiling of a plaque for Dr Lynn and Ms ffrench-Mullen

From left, Liam Roche, a relative of Dr Kathleen Lynn, Cllr Mannix Flynn, Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland, Dr Margaret Ward and Paudge Behan, a relative of Madeleine ffrench-Mullen at the unveiling of a plaque for Dr Lynn and Ms ffrench-Mullen

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In 1919 Dr Kathleen Lynn (left) established the first infant hospital in Ireland, St Ultan’s, with her partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen (right).

The English poet Philip Larkin wrote: “What will survive of us is love.” It is a haunting line which seems particularly appropriate to the life of Dr Kathleen Lynn, whose name is a worthy one to attach to the new national children’s hospital in Dublin, due to open 2024.

The hospital remains unnamed, and any discussion of it is usually in the context of spiralling overspend, with €2bn the likeliest cost. If ever a public building needed to be associated with a positive figure, it is this long-overdue hospital.


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