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Molly Flannery Woods papers

Collection MS-1995-034: Molly Flannery Woods papers


  • Creation: 1897-1952
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1918-1952

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the political and personal activities of Molly Flannery Woods. The material concerns subjects related to Ireland, Irish nationalism, the Irish War of Independence, and the Irish Civil War. The most significant records document Woods' service with Cumann na mBan. It contains correspondence, manuscripts, military pension documents, memorabilia, and scrapbooks of clippings. The correspondents include: Maire Comerford; Sean Etchingham (the writer "Patsy Patrick"); Maud Gonne MacBride; Barney Mellows; Liam Mellows; and Anna Winfred Smith (director and narrator of "Rambles in Erin" and "Romance of Ireland") and her sister Josie Smith. Also included are materials related to the life and execution of Liam Mellows.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note

Mary Flannery Woods, mostly known as Molly, was born in Monasteraden, County Sligo, Ireland in 1875. Molly worked as a private tutor to the children of P. J. Murray in Galway and then as a governess for the O’Farrell family, traveling with them when Major General O’Farrell was appointed the Governor of Malta. She returned to Ireland and married Andrew Woods in 1902 and they had at least three children, Maureen, Eileen, and Tony.

Molly began writing for various publications as early as 1900 and went on to write for a wide number of Irish newspapers. She was a member of the Irish Fireside Club, an early literary organization whose aim was to spread education and where she met her husband, as well as the Irish National Literary Society.

Woods was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and of the Cumann na mBan (League of Women). The League was involved with the women's branch of the Irish Volunteer Force and later the Irish Republican Army. Her husband, Andrew Woods, was also active in the Nationalist cause. Though she was not part of the Rising, Woods was active with the Irish Republican Army from 1916-1921. Shewas a prominent member of the Ranelagh and later the Donnybrook branches of the organization, and at one point she reported directly to Michael Collins and Liam Mellows. During the Irish Civil War she provided medical aid for wounded men, smuggled arms, and harbored wanted men including Liam Mellows and Sean Etchingham. Her home 131 Morehampton Road, known as St Enda’s, was a known arms and ammunitions depot for certain units of the IRA and was raided constantly.

It is believed that Woods died in 1952.


Meegan, Eoin. “Molly Woods – Donnybrook’s forgotten heroine.” NewsFour. Accessed on April 16, 2021,

Molly Flannery Woods papers, MS.1995.034, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Roinn Cosanta Bureau of Military History 1913-1921. Statement by witness Mary Flannery Woods. December 13, 1951. Accessed on April 16, 2021,


4.25 Linear Feet (5 containers)

Language of Materials



The collection documents the political and personal activities of Irish journalist and nationalist Molly Flannery Woods. It includes correspondence, manuscripts, and scrapbooks. Much of the material relates to Irish nationalism in the early twentieth-century and Woods' time with Cumann na mBan.


Arranged into four series I. Correspondence, II. Nationalist material, III. Personal reminiscences, and IV. Scrapbooks.


Purchased from Kenny's Bookshop and Art Galleries (Galway, Ireland) in 1998.

Related Materials

Kathleen Daly Clarke papers and collection of Thomas Clarke and Irish political materials, MS.2001.007, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Letter from Grace Gifford to Joseph Mary Plunkett, MS.2017.015, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Loretta Clarke Murrary collection of women in revolutionary Ireland, MS.2016.016, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Molly Flannery Woods Papers
1897-1952, bulk 1918-1952
Tyler R. McDaniel, 1995; revised by Edward Copenhagen, 2005; Revised by Ray Hartley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States