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I was shocked to discover heroic WWI family secret, says Mary


Mary Kennedy. Photo: Brian McEvoy

Mary Kennedy. Photo: Brian McEvoy

Mary Kennedy. Photo: Brian McEvoy

MARY Kennedy had no idea she would uncover a family connection with World War One when she began making a series of commemorative programmes for RTE's Nationwide.

The State broadcaster is airing a number of special shows to create a comprehensive view of the Great War from Ireland's perspective 100 years on from its outbreak.

Mary thinks the documentaries will shed a light on a conflict that has largely been airbrushed from the country's historical narrative.

The Clondalkin-native thought initially she would have no personal connection with the conflict.

"That was until last week, when I phoned my cousin and discovered a really interesting story about my grand-aunt," she said.

Mary's grand-aunt, Mary Murphy, worked in a military hospital in Nottingham during the war.

"The soldiers were the more badly injured ones and she was obviously held in great affection because she has an autograph book full of messages from them," said Mary.

She was touched to see a drawing of her aunt by one of her patients dating from 1917, and said she hoped the shows which will begin broadcasting next week will spark renewed interest in the conflict that cost 50,000 Irish lives North and South.