By Hannah Huxley
The life of Dr. Dorothy Stopford Price tells an extraordinary tale of an Anglo-Irish child of the British Empire who went on to live through two world wars, the Spanish Flu, the 1916 Easter Rising, the foundation of the new Irish State and, most importantly, pioneered the BCG vaccination against tuberculosis in Ireland.
Born in Dublin in 1890 as a member of the wealthy Protestant ascendancy, Dorothy Stopford was raised in what her sister, Edie, called the “true Irish Protestant social and cultural tradition”.
Along with their siblings Alice and Robert, the children were brought up to be devoted little West Britons.
They attended church regularly and played only with other little Protestant children.
There were rumblings and worries that the children may pick up the Irish brogue, so their governesses came from England and the children’s maids were French-speaking Swiss girls. When their father, Jemmett, passed away in 1902 of typhoid, the family relocated to London, only for Dorothy to return to Dublin in 1915 to study medicine at Trinity College.
A fresh-faced medical student during the 1916 Easter Rising, a horrified Dorothy watched from afar; she was a guest of Sir Matthew Nathan (Under-Secretary to Ireland) at his house in the Under-Secretary’s Lodge in the Phoenix Park – a house which is now known as Áras an Uachtaráin.
Tucked away from the throes of the fighting in Dublin, her sympathies to the Irish Nationalist cause grew as she acquired snippets of information from the household staff.
Read on in this week’s Ireland’s Own