In this extract Betty Dempsey remembers her mother used to go out at all hours delivering babies or caring for the dead in the community. She notes that her mother died quite young, at 48, from pneumonia which she caught while out during the night.

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And did you look after your mother much? As she got older then? As you were still in the house?

I hardly remember her.

Oh really?

I was the second youngest

Oh ok, what age was she when she died?


Oh God she died very young

She died from septic pneumonia. She was a woman that brought babies into the world. You know years ago there used to be woman round like that and if there was a dead person needed to be washed they’d all be looking for her…she wasn’t the only one that done that but she was one of them but that’s how she got cold, all hours of night all hours of the morning going out in the cold, she got pneumonia

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Dublin City Life, Community, Gendered Community Roles

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"Betty Dempsey talks about how her mother would go out at all hours of the night delivering babies or caring for the dead in the community.." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #77 (accessed February 23 2018, 4:49 am)