Mary Josephine Wogan

Úna Wogan tells a great story of one of her ancestors, Mary Josephine Wogan (1894 – 1980):

Mary Josephine Wogan was born 6th March 1894 at Church Hill, Enniskerry. She was the eldest surviving child of Michael and Sarah Wogan. The 1911 Census return shows her at 17 years of age living with her parents and her four brothers and sisters in the family home in the village. Four years later Josephine started working as a Nurses’ Assistant in the Red Cross Hospital in Dublin Castle. The hospital had been set up in 1914 to cater for the wounded from the battles of World War I who were shipped across from Britain in Hospital Boats. During the Easter Rising of 1916 the hospital treated many of the resulting wounded and it is where James Connolly was brought with a badly injured leg after his surrender to the British Forces on the 27th of April. Josephine claimed that she was one of the hospital staff to treat Connolly during his stay. She would say ironically that they treated him and made him well enough to be transferred to Kilmainham Gaol, tied to a chair, and executed 15 days later on May 12th. The Red Cross records of the time show Josephine’s length of service in the hospital.

Mary Josephine Wogan, left and her Red Cross Record of Service, right

After her time with the Red Cross, Josephine went on to attend the Greenwich and Deptford Hospital Training School for Nurses, England, from which she graduated on completion of the three year course in September 1922. Josephine regularly returned to Enniskerry during the 30’s and 40’s to visit her family. Tragically both her sister Molly and her sister-in-law Ellen had died at a young age leaving five of Josephine’s nieces and nephews motherless. Josephine took it upon herself to return sporadically and ensure her three nephews and two nieces were provided with medical and dental check-ups. This good deed was not appreciated by the five children and they remember her appearance with the dread of having to endure medical and/or dental treatments. Josephine continued to work in England throughout the Second World War and up until 1959 when she returned to live in Enniskerry permanently to look after her younger brother Patrick, who was critically ill. Patrick died in the same year and Josephine returned to work for several years as a nurse in St Brigid’s, Kilternan (at the site of the Dublin Sports Hotel) – an auxiliary of St Anne’s City Hospital for Diseases of Skin and Cancer. During the sixties and seventies Josephine, or Aunty Josie as she was known in the family, was an important fixture in the life of her grand nieces and nephews. She was the last owner of the original Wogan family home which she sold in the seventies. She died in a nursing home in Bray 1980 at 86 years of age, the oldest surviving sibling, and is buried in Curtlestown Grave Yard, Enniskerry.

Josie Wogan