Object: Diary of Mary Martin
National Library of Ireland
Object title: Diary of Mary Martin, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, written while her son Charles was missing and wounded on the Salonika front; 1916 Jan.- May
Physical Characteristics:The object is a Browne’s Whole Page Diary for 1916, measuring 22.5 cm x 16.5 cm. The diary includes printed pages: a 1916 ‘Almanack’; details of stamp and excise duties, taxes, new postal rates etc.
Object description: The diary was produced by Browne and Nolan Ltd., Nassau Street, Dublin. It was used by Mary Martin of Monkstown, County Dublin to record daily life in January to May 1916.
How is the object associated with the Easter Rising 1916 and in what way does it make a unique contribution to our understanding of the event?
It has day to day updates on the news around the Rising and the arrival of British troops, and it is a contemporary record of how the Rising was perceived by an ordinary person and how news filtered out from the main action in the city centre. Mary was upper class and Catholic, and with a son fighting in WWI in the British Army she was not particularly sympathetic to the Rising.
Are there any broader issues that can be illustrated through the story of the object?
Yes, it describes everyday family life and concerns in Dublin in 1916 and discusses the progress of fighting in WWI. The diary was primarily written as a record for her son, Charlie, who was missing on the Salonika front, who she hoped would return home. Charles Martin, joined the 6th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in 1914, and died in action 6th December 1915.