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Brigid Lyons Thornton

Street: 2 Main Street
Town/Village: Longford
Civil Parish: Templemichael
Catholic Parish: Templemichael
Alternative Address: Moneenacully/Northyard(?), Scramogue, Co. Roscommon; Sligo; Galway city; Dublin; Nice; Leysin Fedey, Switzerland; Co. Kildare; Co. Cork; Dublin
Census 1901: Resident with her family in Co. Roscommon
Census 1911: Resident with her uncle Frank McGuinness, Main Street Longford
Regiment/Unit: Cumann na mBan, Galway city
Regiment Number:
Date of Death: 17-04-1987
Cause: Natural causes
Memorial: Toomore graveyard, Foxford, Co. Mayo

Brigid was born on or around the 13 May 1896 near Scramogue, County Roscommon. Her mother died when she was a very young child years old. She spent much of her young life with her uncle Frank McGuinness and his wife at Main Street, Longford. She went to Galway to study medicine in 1915 and there helped to found a branch of Cumann na mBan.

Brigid was in Longford, on her Easter break from university, when news of the rising came through. She accompanied her uncle and Tom Bannon to Dublin on Tuesday to take part. She wrote the following many years later:

My cousins could scarcely forgive me for being in the rising when they were not. It was a glorious summer day for our trip, the peace of the country was as remote as possible from the conflict taking place in Dublin.

They joined her uncle Joe and cousin Rose in the Four Courts. On Thursday, Brigid and another member of Cumann na mBan were transferred to a first aid post at 5 Church Street. When the surrender took place, she was one of 77 women who were detained in Richmond Barracks. She was sent from there to Kilmainham Gaol and released on 9 May.

After qualifying as a doctor, Brigid Lyons was the first woman to be commissioned an officer in the Irish Army, serving as a first Lieutenant in the Army Medical Service, 1922-24. She went on to have a distinguished career in public health. She married Edward Thornton, a Mayo native in 1926. Brigid Lyons Thornton died in 1987.


Parents Names: Daughter of Patrick Lyons and Margaret (née McGuinness), Scramogue
Notes: Interestingly, Bridget's profession is not recorded in her marriage registration.

Link to Civil Record of Birth (please ensure web address ends in .pdf); link to Civil Record of Marriage; link to her Witness Statement in the Military Archives; entry in Women's Museum of Ireland; announcement of death, Evening Herald, 18 Apr 1987; 

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