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11/02/19 Exhibition “World War One: Ireland’s Humanitarian Effort”

WW1 nurses


Donegal County Museum invites to the opening of a new temporary exhibition World War One: Ireland’s Humanitarian Effort- St John Ambulance, on Friday 15th February at 7pm. This exhibition explores the personal stories of many of the volunteers who sought to alleviate pain, suffering and deprivation during WWI.


 After the War began in 1914, St John Ambulance joined forces with the British Red Cross, to provide medical care for war casualties in hospitals in Ireland and overseas.  Over 6,000 volunteers, including many women and men from County Donegal, spent countless hours supporting local hospital depots, making artificial limbs and picking sphagnum moss from bogs, for use in dressings. The majority of volunteers were women. Florence Balfour Olphert, daughter of Robert Fannin Olphert, Ballyconnell House, Falcarragh died in 1917 from influenza while on Active Service with the St John Ambulance.


St John Ambulance Brigade was formed in 1887, as a voluntary organisation offering free medical care. In Ireland, St John Ambulance was set up in Dublin in 1903 for Guinness workers. In 1910 the Brigade began its first public duty at the Royal Dublin Society.  During the Easter Rising in 1916, more than 500 members of St John Ambulance put their lives at risk to assist those wounded during the Rising. Members of the Brigade received medals and certificates for meritorious service.


This exhibition is on loan from St John Ambulance Archives in Dublin and is curated by Pádraig Allen of the St John Ambulance. The archive is a substantial collection of over 3,000 photographs and documents detailing the organisation’s work in Ireland.


The exhibition runs to the end of March. Admission is free. For information contact:


Donegal County Museum, High Road, Letterkenny, Co Donegal T 074 9124613 E [email protected]

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