Her 1916 Easter Rising service medal testifies to her determination and resolve. Estimated at €20,000-30,000 at Mullen’s (24.6% buyer’s premium inc VAT) of Laurel Park, Bray, County Dublin, on January 29, it sold for €58,000 (£49,200) to a commission bidder against a bidder in the room. The medal was gifted by Lynn to her cousin George G Llewellyn Wynne and came to auction by descent.
Lynn had become a Suffragette and, influenced by the writings of James Connolly, also joined the Irish Citizen Army as chief medical officer. She became a trusted confidante of Connolly and was very active in preparations for the 1916 rebellion. She not only sourced and distributed medical supplies but also distributed guns and ammunition, even storing some in her home, which she shared with her life partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen.
During the rising, Lynn was part of the City Hall garrison, adopting a leadership role following the death by sniper-fire of Sean Connolly, which she witnessed. She was arrested and imprisoned and was one of only six women to be deported to British jails for their part in the battle.
Following her release she was appointed vicepresident of Sinn Fein and was on the run for much of the War of Independence.
Lynn was the driving force behind the establishment of St Ultan’s Children’s Hospital in 1919. Her work with Dublin’s inner-city poor had convinced her of the need to provide medical and educational facilities for impoverished mothers and infants. St Ultan’s was the only hospital in Ireland entirely managed by women. It closed in 1983.
According to the Medal Yearbook, 1906 of the 2000 medals for the Easter Rising instituted in January 1941 were issued. It adds: “Of these, 266 were named and presented to the next of kin of those who had died before the date of issue, including the 88 killed in the rebellion and 16 executed afterwards. The remainder were issued unnamed. Another 450 medals were struck and issued later.”
Lynn’s distant cousin Constance Markievicz was heavily involved in Irish nationalism. Also in this auction, Countess Markievicz’s writing slope sold at €2800/£2320 (guide €800-1200) via thesaleroom.com. The sloping lid of the rosewood lap desk was inlaid with a brass plate engraved CGB for Constance Gore-Booth, her name before marriage.
Markievicz was sentenced to death for her part in the rising but, commuted to a lifetime of penal servitude, she was released the next year. In 1918 Markievicz became the first woman elected to the British Parliament, though she refused to take her seat.
She was also the only woman to serve in the first Dáil Éireann (Irish Assembly) and was minister of labour from 1919-22.