Eilish Lynch (b. 1932) and her cousin Elizabeth O’Brien (b. 1937)
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Eilish Lynch (b. 1932) and her cousin Elizabeth O’Brien (b. 1937)


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Eilish Lynch’s mother, Christina ‘Dina’ Hunter, was a member of Cumann na mBan and she was trained by Dr Kathleen Lynn. She came from East Wall in Dublin. Eilish’s cousin, Elizabeth O’Brien, recalls their grandfather, John Hunter, a coach-builder and painter who had a workshop in Herbert Lane, Dublin. Prior to the Rising he was employed to paint the Queen’s coach in Bournemouth where he also had a coach-building business. Elizabeth explains that he closed the business at Bournemouth and moved to Dublin so that his son Johnny would not be conscripted. Ironically, Johnny became involved in the nationalist movement after the Rising. Johnny (Seán) was arrested, as was he himself and detained at McGilligan Camp. Eilish’s parents, Christy Crothers and Dina Hunter, met during the Rising. He was a member of the Irish Citizen Army at Liberty Hall with Countess Markievicz two weeks prior to the Rising. Eilish mentions the fact that her parents were continually trying to protect her and her siblings. Elizabeth recalls that Christy always took part in the later commemorations and describes a photograph which shows him at the head of a march, wearing a black beret. Eilish recalls the closeness between her mother and her sibling Johnny (Seán) Hunter. She explains that both her parents are buried at Sutton and were afforded a military funeral. There is no indication on their gravestone of their involvement in the Rising. She remembers the many visitors to the house and recalls her older sister describing it as a ‘safe house’. Their mother’s role in the Rising and her place by Cathal Brugha’s side at his death are recalled. Elizabeth remembers her own mother, Dina’s sister, talking about Dina after their brother Johnny’s death, and explains that she had to be restrained from going to find the man responsible. Her kind and charitable nature is remembered. Eilish recalls her older sister Phil playing the uilleann pipes, and she says that her father Christy was influenced by Fintan Lalor with regard to music. The artistic influences within the family are discussed. Dina Crothers’s great care of her large family is recalled, and her daughter remembers her lovely singing voice. The family lived at Inchicore, and Christy Crothers worked as a clerk at the Board of Works. Elizabeth recalls the fact that Dina grew vegetables and was a herbalist, having been influenced by Dr Kathleen Lynn. Dr Lynn was close to the Crothers couple and Christy was executor of her will. Eilish recalls Dr Lynn as being brilliant and very generous, and says that along with founding St Ultan’s Hospital for Infants, she achieved quite a lot for mothers. Elizabeth discusses Rosie Hackett whom she remembers at work with Nellie McCarthy in the newsagents beside Connolly Hall. Elizabeth remarks that at Easter Week 1916, Countess Markievicz sent Christy Crothers and another youth home as they were just young teenagers at that time. When applications began for Military Service pensions, Christy Crothers was appointed a panel member to oversee the issuing of the pensions, and Elizabeth remarks that women were not in receipt of pensions. She remembers visiting the Crothers home as a child, and Eilish recalls many others who also visited, people such as Bob de Coeur, Paddy Buttner and Dr Kathleen Lynn, who would arrive on a “high nelly” bicycle along with her Kerry Blue dog. Dr Lynn was very religious and attended Methodist service every day, describing herself as “only a servant of the man above”. The Crothers couple are also remembered as being very religious. Eilish reflects on what her parents would think of the Ireland of today. In her opinion there is no conformity nowadays to the 1916 Proclamation. Elizabeth recalls an incident when Dina did not approve of an action by government and considered returning her medals. She feels that Dina would be very disappointed with the country as it is today. Eilish recalls her grandfather, James Crothers, who had a contract to work as a carpenter on the Titanic, though he did not travel on her as he did not consider her to be safe. Elizabeth remembers their Hunter great-grandfather, a ship’s captain who married a Spanish lady. Eilish’s brother Kevin was the author of the book Salt in my Blood. The death of Johnny Hunter in October 1922 is recalled. He was shot by a fellow officer two days after the marriage of his sister Dina to Christy Crothers. In his memory, his mother commissioned two painted glass windows in Gormanston Camp and contributed to the Stations of the Cross at Arbour Hill. His niece Elizabeth discusses the circumstances surrounding the death of Johnny (Seán) Hunter.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

32.99 MB

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Christy Crothers and Dina Crothers (née Hunter) (Interviewee’s parents)

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore