Mary Dirrane


Mary Dirrane was born on 8 March 1898 at Kilronan, Aran Island, County Galway, the seventh of nine children of labourer (later herd, farm servant and fisherman) Michael Dirrane and his wife Winifred (nee Cooke). Educated at the Aran National School, by the time of the 1911 Census she was living at Kilronan with her parents and three surviving siblings. Her father died of chronic bronchitis two years later.

In January 1918 Dirrane applied for enlistment in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, seeking a position as a Class B Housemaid or Waitress. She stated that she had been in permanent employment for the last two years as housemaid to the Rector of Aran, The Reverend Landon Lennon (on an annual salary of £12) "but all my life coming to the Rectory." She listed her mother and sister as dependents.

Supported by positive references, Dirrane's application was accepted and on 25 May 1918 at Athlone she enlisted in the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps (No.39425).

After reporting for duty at the Corps' depot hostel in Belfast, on 12 June 1918 Dirrane was posted to the North Irish Horse reserve base at Antrim. She worked there as a housemaid for the next twelve months. When the regiment's Antrim base was closed in mid-1919 she was sent to Dublin, where she worked at the Marlborough Barracks. After a brief posting to the Ebrington Barracks at Londonderry she returned to Dublin.

Dirrane was discharged on 26 November 1919. Soon after, she sought the free passage to the Dominions available to ex-service personnel. Having been told that "should you wish for Domestic Service I should strongly advise you to go to the Dominion of New South Wales, Australia or to Canada, as I feel sure you will be able to find a post there", Dirrane applied for passage to New South Wales or Queensland.

Her subsequent history is not known at present.