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Flu abates in Dublin but death toll still on the rise around the country
Emergency influenza hospital in Kansas, USA in 1918. Photo: National Museum of Health and Medicine

Flu abates in Dublin but death toll still on the rise around the country

Nenagh, 18 November 1918 - As the threat from the influenza epidemic abates in Dublin, it has continued to exact a heavy toll on the rest of the country. In the last week alone, a dozen deaths have been recorded Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.

In Macroom, Co. Cork, 10 deaths were recorded in a week from a single street and the number of funerals in Cork City is reported to be double its standard rate.

In Clare, the death has occurred of the first female clerk of the Ennis Union, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, daughter of former GAA President and Chairman of the Ennis Guardians, Edward Bennett. Ms Fitzgerald died less than a week after falling ill.

A Mrs Coyle, the wife of a small farmer in Belmullet, died after nursing nine children successfully through the illness, while the local RIC Sergeant T. Kelly, has died just days after his young daughter succumbed to the flu.

And to the east of the country, the fact that several Wexford hurlers have succumbed to the illness has forced the cancellation of the All-Ireland hurling final.

Amidst all this misery, the story from Dublin affords hope that the influenza scourge will pass. Last week, the city’s chief medical officer, Sir Charles Cameron, declared:

‘The epidemic is now running its course. It has reached its highest point and is coming down. The decline will be very gradual. There may be more deaths one day than the day before. But in Dublin there are very few fresh cases within the past few days. There is still decided need for caution. We are not out of danger.’

At the point at which Dr Cameron made this statement 401 deaths in the Dublin city area were attributable to the influenza epidemic.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.