Writing desk which belonged to Sr Aloysius Doyle (1820-1908) which comprises a wooden box (polished wood, possibly cherry?), which opens out to form the deck – inlaid with leather and a gilt border. The deck can be lifted up either side and has storage underneath – the top side of which has three smaller drawers inserted. Brass plate on top of box has Sr Mary Aloysius’ name inscribed.
Born Catherine Doyle, in 1820, in Old Kilcullen, Kildare, Catherine entered St Leo’s Convent of Mercy, Carlow in 1849 and received the name Mary Aloysius. She taught in Carlow Mercy schools from 1849 until 1854, when she left Ireland with a group of sisters to nurse soldiers in the Crimea, many whom were victims of cholera – part of a campaign of nursing by Florence Nightingale. The Crimean War lasted from October 1853–February 1856.
In 1857, Sr Mary Aloysius was appointed as Superioress of the Gort Foundation, Co. Galway and opened a school there. Other foundations established in Ennistymon, Co. Clare and in Kinvara, Co. Galway where Mary Aloysius spent much of her later life.
In 1897 she was invited on the event of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee as the only surviving Irish war nurse to Windsor Palace to receive the Royal Red cross but she declined the invitation.