Midwife Mary Anne Fanning

Her story with some informative letters and images.

Emma Laffey

Midwife Mary Anne Fanning (nee Halligan) 1880-1964

Mary Anne was born in Skerries in 1880. She became a midwife in 1898 and received her first post in Caherdaniel, County Kerry. She got her next post in 1900 in Garristown, County Dublin, which was nearer to her family home. She met Patrick Fanning, who was eleven years her senior, and they married him in 1901. Just before her marriage she had to write a letter to the Chairmen of the Board to ask permission to retain her position as a midwife in the Garristown Dispensary as she would be living in the same area. Thankfully she was allowed retain her position and a copy of this letter is in our gallery on this page.

She then went onto having eight children of her own and all the while she still worked as a midwife and an integral part of the family. After her last son was born, in 1916, Mary Anne was one of the first to render medical aid to the volunteers during the Thomas Ashe raid in Ashbourne during 1916 Ester Rising and this is noted in her obituary.

Like many midwives during this period Mary Anne rode her bicycle to attend her patients. After some years she got a car and it did land her in some trouble for transporting farm labourers and, as petrol was rationed during this time, she had her privileges revoked. However after some months they reinstated her petrol allowance and that letter can be seen below in the gallery.

Mary Anne’s family still have her midwifery bag with all her items in it, as well as all her certificates documents and memorabilia. Mary Anne is now highlighted as part of a project with her families permission between Irish Community Archive Network, The Heritage Council and The National Museum of Ireland.

Launch date for this project will be October 2024.

This page was added on 08/02/2024.

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