Dr Patrick J Doyle was appointed as the District Medical Doctor for Shinrone and Moneygall Areas in Co Offaly, in 1920, He also married his wife Mary Fitzgerald and they moved to Shinrone, where he was to remain as the District Medical Officer until 1964.
Patrick Doyle was born in 1892, at 42 Main Street, Ferbane, Co Offaly where his father was the Headmaster of Ballyclare Boys’ School, Ferbane.
He was educated at St Mel’s College, in Longford and obtained a Scholarship in Classics to UCD in 1911. He sat First Arts in 1912, Second Year Arts in 1913 and switched to Medicine in 1914. He graduated with a M.B., B.Ch.B.A.O in the Autumn of 1918.
It was during Patrick’s time in Dublin that he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), and was a Medical Student in the Coombe Maternity Hospital in 1916 when the Rising broke out.
On Monday 24th April 1916, he joined his Company in Jameson’s Distillery, Marrowbone Lane on the south side of the city. His Company covered the rear of the South Dublin Union (now St James Hospital) under the command of Captain Con Colbert, from Co Limerick, who was one of the 1916 Leaders subsequently executed on 8th May 1916.
Following the surrender of the Marrowbone Lane Garrison on Sunday 30th April 1916, and the execution of their Commander, Patrick Doyle was interned in Knutsford Prison, Cheshire on 3rd May 1916, and was later transferred to Frongoch Prisoner of War camp in North Wales. Dr Doyle’s participation in the struggle for independence brought him in contact with many of the leaders in that fight, including Michael Collins, who was a personal friend of his.
On his release at the end of July 1916, he returned to continue his medical studies, but he remained in active service with the Dublin Brigade. He subsequently transferred to 2nd Battalion, South Offaly Brigade and took up the appointment of Vice Commandant of the IRB, and he found himself “on the run” in the boglands of Offaly from June to September 1918.
During this time, it was noted in UCD archives notes that he was “absent” from his final examination in the summer of 1918. He did sit and pass the final medical examination in the Autumn of 1918 and was subsequently appointed to the Shinrone and Moneygall Co Offaly Area as Dispensary Doctor in 1920.
When Dr Doyle arrived in the Shinrone and Moneygall Areas in 1920, life in rural Ireland was very bleak, where electricity, running water and food were luxuries to many. Families were large and hunger and disease were a common daily occurrence. All babies were born at home. Poverty was appalling, and emigration and family separation were common.
At that time there was no Chemist shop in rural villages, and medicine was made up by the local Dispensary Doctor. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the Dispensary in Shinrone was held in a small room in Joe & Mary Tierney’s house, until a modern one was built and opened in 1940. Around this time also the Dispensary (now the Health Centre) was also built in Moneygall village.
Doctor Doyle made up all sorts of “bottles” to cure an array of complaints, but life must have been made easier for his patients with the arrival of the antibiotic, penicillin in 1944. Dr Doyle’s wife Mary was known to attend many patients when her husband was out on a call, and many in the area talked about the great support she was to her husband with his work in the District.
The Doyle’s had a great interest in agriculture and travelled to many Agricultural Shows throughout Ireland, where Dr Doyle was President of the Irish Cow Testing Association, endeavouring to ensure that cows were disease free.
Dr Doyle still maintained his interest in Public Affairs, and in 1937 he was elected to Seanad Eireann on the Cultural and Educational Panel, where he remained until 1948.
Dr P.J. Doyle’s health was failing in 1964 and he continued to work up to three months before he sadly died from pneumonia on Friday 9th October 1964, aged 72.
He is buried alongside his wife Mary in the Catholic section in the grounds of the Church of Ireland in Shinrone.
In 1966, on the 50th Anniversary of the Rising, the people of Shinrone erected a Memorial Cross in Dr Doyle’s memory, “in appreciation of his devoted service to the community and his country during the insurrection of Easter Week 1916.”
This monument was unveiled by Eamonn Bulfin, from Derrinlough, Birr, the man who hoisted the flag over the GPO at the commencement of the Easter Rising in 1916.
This Cross stands just above St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on the Brosna Road, looking in the direction of Glencorrig, Shinrone where Dr Doyle resided for many years.
Acknowledgement to the following for the above information
“In the Shadow of The Fairy Hill” by Noel Mac Mahon
Shinrone Heritage Group
|Date of Birth
|1st Jan 1892
|Date of Death
|9th Oct 1964