Research Yields More Surprises

Gearoid keeps surprising me.

Preparatory to my visit to Ireland, I spent a good deal of the evening checking bus schedules, museum and library hours, tour particulars and the like. I also checked out the location of Gearoid’s burial plot at Dublin’s famed Glasnevin Cemetery, final resting place for all of Ireland’s martyrs and heroes. Once again, I was stunned.

I expected, of course, that Maud would be buried with Gearoid. I wasn’t sure if Gearoid’s second wife, Mary Brennan, would be buried there (she wasn’t). However, I certainly did not expect a baby to be buried there as well. Given that no name is given to this baby, it’s likely he or she was either stillborn or a miscarriage.

This, of course, gives greater meaning to Gearoid’s advice to his eldest daughter Sibeal as she pondered whether to take additional training in midwifery, thus delaying her career as a nurse. A nurse worth her salt, advised Gearoid, ought to be able to deliver babies.

Baby O’Sullivan died in July of 1923, about eight months after Gearoid’s and Maud’s sorrow-tinged wedding and eleven months after Michael Collins’ death in the ambush at Béal na mBláth. What a sad little beginning and ending for this unnamed child.

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