Friday 21 October 2016

Mamie carried out first aid in battles around the Four Courts

Rebel Stories

Mary 'Mamie' Stephenson
Mary 'Mamie' Stephenson

Mary Kilmartin was born in Stoneybatter in 1898, in a room above Kane's shop, which was also her home.

She was the youngest of three children of a widow, also named Mary Kilmartin, who was an ardent Republican and Parnellite.

Young Mary, known as Mamie, joined the Colmcille Branch of Cumann na mBan in 1915 under the influence of her mother.

She inherited her mother's strong nationalist beliefs, attending weekly drill and training parades at Colmcille Hall in Blackhall Street. In this period she learned first aid, preparation of rations, ammunition maintenance and handling skills, and attended Irish language classes.

During Easter Week Mamie was attached to the Four Courts garrison under Commandant Ned Daly. She carried out first aid there and at Skippers Alley from the start of the Rising until Wednesday night. Evading arrest, she then returned to her home nearby.


She and her brother also concealed firearms and ammunition in their mother's shop close to Colmcille Hall.

This was a dangerous practice that the family continued up to and during the War of Independence, much to the exasperation of the Black and Tans who made numerous unsuccessful raids.

During Easter Week Mamie's older brother Paddy served as an Volunteer in D Company, 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade, at Phibsboro and at the GPO.

At a Colmcille Hall Sunday evening fundraising ceili in 1915, Mamie befriended her future husband Patrick Stephenson, a Volunteer in Sean Heuston's D Company 1st Battalion, who served with The Mendacity Institute and GPO Garrisons during the Rising. He was arrested and interned in Frongoch.

After his release Mamie married Stephenson in September 1917 and they had five sons. She died in 1966.

Details submitted by Jimmy Stephenson (grandson)

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