Eleanora Fluery - the first female doctor in Ireland

Biography by Ava, age 11

Artwork by Belle, age 8

The Museum of Very Interesting People features Eleanora Fluery
Eleanora Fluery was the first female to qualify as a doctor in Ireland!

Eleanora Fluery

Lived: 1867 - 1960

Claim to Fame: First female to qualify as a doctor in Ireland

Eleanora Fleury was the first woman in Ireland to qualify as a doctor. She was born in 1867. Eleanora’s father was a surgeon doctor and he wanted her to have a proper education and got her a tutor. She was home-schooled and soon her father realised that she was smart enough to do anything she wanted.

Eleanora said that she wanted to become a doctor but universities in Ireland weren't open to woman at the time, so she was sent off to study at the London School of Medicine for Women.

Eleanora passed all of her exams in London and then returned to Dublin and finished her studies at the Royal University of Ireland. After a lot of hard work, in 1890 Eleanora became the first woman in Ireland to qualify as a doctor. She got a first-class honours degree and was written about in the Dublin Medical Press!

Eleanora first worked in the Fever Hospital in London. While she was working there, she came across a lot of people who had mental issues. Eleanora wanted to help and understand these people so she told her father that she wanted to study mental health issues. She returned to Dublin where she studied mental health in Richmond Asylum which was the largest hospital for people with mental health issues in Ireland.

Eleanora tried to join the Medico-Psychological Association (MPA), the main organisation of psychiatrists in the UK, but they wouldn't let her join because she was a woman. Eleanora continued to work hard helping her patients, and in the following year the MPA changed the rules and allowed women to join. So, as the first female member of the MPA this also made her the first woman psychiatrist in not only Ireland but Great Britain as well!

During Ireland's civil war Eleanora was brave and helped her patients as much as possible. Eleanora helped some of her patients avoid fighting in the war by helping them escape from hospitals. Eventually Eleanora was arrested and imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol. In the prison she was the doctor for sick prisoners. When she was released from prison she returned to work in the hospital and argued for better conditions in prisons. She died in 1960 when she was 93 years old.