This diary is a fascinating snapshot into a pivotal moment in Irish history. The author of the diary, Dorothy Stopford Price, a 26 year old medical student at Trinity College Dublin, did not seem to be a regular diarist. Rather, the tumultuous events of Easter Week impelled her to record what was happening around her.
Her diary provides a unique insight into how the 1916 Easter Rising was viewed from the perspective of a highly educated Protestant woman: a woman who happened to be staying as a house guest of Sir Matthew Nathan, the Under-Secretary to Ireland, at his home in the Under Secretary’s Lodge in the Phoenix Park, now Áras an Uachtaráin, the home of the President of Ireland.
The diary begins on Good Friday, 21 April 1916. Price records the most mundane of events: playing in the garden with Nathan’s nieces and reading a novel aloud of the evening. By Saturday, however, there are ominous tones. Although Easter Sunday was taken up with visits to friends, Nathan was preoccupied and went into Dublin Castle several times, the last time at 10.00 at night, while Price and Nathan’s sister-in-law, Estelle, waited up for his return.
On Monday the 24th, the Rising erupted. From that day through the end of her diary on 6 May 1916, Price’s diary reflects the fast-paced events of the week, as well as the rumours and innuendos. This is a fascinating eye-witness account by a skilled writer whose innate ability deftly describes the Rising as she experienced it.
Stopford graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1921 as a medical doctor. She later became pivotal in helping to eradicate TB from Ireland. This digital edition contains further information on Stopford Price and her family, as well as Sir Matthew Nathan and the historical context in which the diary was written.