The Central Bank of Ireland has released (25th July) their latest collector coin in recognition of the accomplishments of Dr. Kathleen Lynn, considered one of the great Irish humanitarians of the 20th century. Dr Lynn is honoured today for her work in hospital medicine, her fight against poverty and disease, her career as a politician, and as a campaigner for women’s rights. Born in County Mayo on the 28th January 1874, she was the daughter of Robert Lynn, a Church of Ireland clergyman, and his wife, Catherine Wynn. From an early age, Lynn recognised the need to alleviate the levels of poverty she came into contact with. It was her resolve to make a difference that, at the age of sixteen, she expressed her wish to pursue a profession in medicine. Lynn travelled to England for the first stage of her medical training, then to Germany to further her medical knowledge before returning to enrol at the Royal University of Ireland’s School of Medicine. Graduating in 1899, Lynn then immigrated to the United States, where she lived ten years before returning to Ireland.
Due to gender bias at the time, Lynn found it difficult to gain an appointment at a hospital. As a result, she set up her own practice in her home, despite significant opposition from the medical establishment. However, it was her determination to further her career within a hospital setting that she had been appointed as the first female doctor in Ireland at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in 1910, serving in this capacity until 1916. A staunch supporter of independence for Ireland, her friendship with James Connolly led to Lynn joining the Irish Citizens Army, where she taught first-aid to all its members. Her involvement in the Easter Rising in 1916 included using her own automobile to transport guns into central Dublin. While at city hall, when the stand-off commenced, Lynn was arrested along with all of the other women after the surrender and imprisoned. Her arrest and detention resulted in her subsequent deportation to England, and though not imprisoned upon her arrival, her medical training was instead put to use when she was required to work for a local doctor near Bath. Lynn was allowed to return to Ireland in the summer for a month to nurse her sister, who was ill, and by the end of the year, she was allowed to return home permanently, where she re-established her practice. She remained politically active and was elected vice-president of the Sinn Féin executive in 1917, and a member of the Irish parliament for Dublin in 1923, although she did not take her seat. However, Dr. Lynn is best remembered for co-founding the Saint Ultan’s Hospital for Infants in 1919, which provided vital medical and educational support to impoverished infants and their mothers. By pushing against the conventional norms of society, Dr. Lynn became one of the most distinguished physicians in Ireland, known the world over. She died in September 1955 and was laid to rest at the Deansgrange Cemetery in Dublin. In 1990, the family of Dr. Kathleen Lynn donated her personal and extensive diaries to the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, so they could be kept with the records of the hospital she co-founded and which had been her life’s work.
The coins are produced by the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (IPZS) at their facilities in Rome, on behalf of the Central Bank of Ireland. Designed by engraver Daniela Fusco, the obverse side depicts a three-quarter front-facing image of Dr. Lynn portrayed in a lab coat and stethoscope around her neck. To the right is an image of two midwives holding newborn babies, in recognition of the hospital for infants co-founded by Dr. Lynn. Along the upper-left edge is the text DR KATHLEEN LYNN, and below her likeness are the years 1874 – 1955. The denomination of 15 EURO is placed just above the midwives. The reverse side depicts the national insignia of Ireland, the cláirseach (or Celtic harp), which is centred. The text EIRE and 2022 are positioned on either side of the harp.
|28.4 g||38.6 mm||Proof||
Each coin is encapsulated and presented in a Central Bank of Ireland branded custom case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For additional information about this coin and other coins available from the Central Bank, please visit their retail website.