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O'Doherty, Mary Eva (1829–1910)

from Brisbane Courier

There died at her residence at the corner of Thomas and Bayswater roads, Rosalie, on Saturday, Mrs Mary Eva O'Doherty, relict of Dr. Kevin Izod O'Doherty, one of the Irish patriots who suffered transportation in 1848 for the part taken by him in the Irish national movement, and at one time a member of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly in Queensland. The late Mrs. O'Doherty was born at Headford, County Galway, and was a member of a very old Catholic family, her maiden name being Mary Eva Kelly. She was best known as a writer of prose and verse, under the name of "Eva" in The Nation newspaper, when it was started in Dublin in 1842 by Charles Gavan Duffy, and a volume of her poems was published in Dublin last year, prefaced by a biographical sketch by Justin McCarthy, in the course of which he wrote—, "'Eva' of the Nation' will ever be associated with that name by all who take any real interest in the growth of the great Irish national movement in literature and in political movement, which may be described as the rising of the young Ireland. The first poems written by 'Eva' were, as often happens with young writers of verse, mere translations, among them being a rendering of Lamartine's 'Dying Christian', and she did not for some time afterwards make any attempt at original productions. It was only on the first appearance of The Nation in Dublin that she felt herself infused with the national spirit and animated by the generous ambition to become one of the singers of the new patriotic movement. She was still, however, hardly past the years of childhood when she sent her first contribution to The Nation, and when to her great surprise and delight it was accepted and published by the editor. The poem was called 'The Banshee,' and was founded on an old family legend. At this time she had not adopted for herself the title which she has since made celebrated, and she wrote under different signatures. The first time she adopted the name of 'Eva' was when she wrote her poem 'The Lament for Davis,' the great Irish poet and patriot.... Eva threw her whole soul into the national movement. She contributed to The Nation prose essays as well as ballads and other poems. It might seem almost needless to say that the poetry of Eva won to her many admirers among the rising young men in the Irish national movement. One of these young men was Kevin Izod O'Doherty, then already becoming distinguished as a writer and a speaker, and giving high promise—a promise afterwards well realised—of important service to the cause of his country." The writer then goes on to tell how Dr. O'Doherty was thrice tried in 1848 for the part taken by him in the rebellious movement led by Smith O'Brien, Thomas Francis Meagher, and John Blake Dillon, and how before his third trial it was privately intimated to him that "if he should acknowledge his guilt as a rebel, and publicly plead guilty, he should be promised a pardon as a reward for his proclaimed penitence." He informed "Eva," to whom he was then affianced, but "from the first moment when the proposal of the Government was made known to her she was uncompromisingly against it." Dr. O'Doherty was sentenced to 10 years of transportation, the place of his exile being Van Diemen's Land. "Eva" continued to live her life of patriotic work as prose writer and poetess in Ireland, and in 1831 Dr. O'Doherty was set free on condition that he should settle himself somewhere out of Ireland. He then married "Eva," and they lived for a time in Paris, and on being permitted to return to Ireland they lived for some years in Dublin. They afterwards, however, came to Brisbane, where Dr. O'Doherty practised his profession and became a member of the Legislative Assembly for Brisbane, and in 1877 a member of the Legislative Council. In 1886 the pair returned to Ireland, and were accorded a most cordial welcome by the Nationalists, and a little later Dr. O'Doherty was elected as representative for the County of Meath in the House of Commons in the Nationalist interest. The failure of his health, however, caused them to return to Brisbane, and in July, 1905, Dr. O'Doherty died at the age of 81. "Eva," concludes Mr. McCarthy, might be said to have been left a bequest to the care and protection of the Irish people, to whom she had rendered for so many years such devoted and brilliant services."

Mrs. O'Doherty is survived by one daughter, her four sons having predeceased her— The funeral took place yesterday afternoon. Among those present at the graveside were: Hons. Peter Macpherson, F. McDonnell, and P. Murphy, M.L.C., Dr. Mayne, Dr. McNamara, Dr. Turner, Messrs P. A. McLachlan, M.L.A., and J. Dempsey (secretaries of the O'Doherty Memorial Fund), P. J. Leahy, Jas. Lundey, P. J. Connolly, Jas. Kelly, C. J. Maloney (representing the Queensland Irish association), I. J. McGough (representing the N.S.W. Committee of the Memorial Fund), T. Donnellan (Pittsworth), M. H. Cormack, F. X. Heeney (Land Commissioner), I. A. M. O'Keefe, Francis McDonnell, and others. Wreaths were sent by the following:—Dr. and Mrs. Turner, the staff of the Government Statistician and Registrar-General's Department, Queensland Irish Association, Dr. and Mrs. E. Hirschfeld, Dr. Marks, Mr. and Mrs. M. H. Cormack, Mrs. F. Hely, Mr. Justice and Mrs. Power, the Hon. P. and Mrs. Macpherson, the Hon. P. Murphy, Mrs. and Miss Spode, Mr. and Mrs. P. O. C. Russell, Mrs. J. E. Hinton, Miss O'Reilly, Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Ivory, and Mrs. Gorton. The Rev. Fathers Byrne and Lee officiated at the graveside.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Mary Eva O'Doherty

Citation details

'O'Doherty, Mary Eva (1829–1910)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/odoherty-mary-eva-15193/text26384, accessed 24 November 2017.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2017

Eva O'Doherty, n.d.

Eva O'Doherty, n.d.

State Library of Queensland, 103478

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Kelly, Mary Eva
Birth

1829
Headford, Galway, Ireland

Death

22 May 1910
Rosalie, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

influenza

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence
Occupation