Archive for March 5th, 2010

The rich and varied life of a forgotten Dublin cartoonist

5 March 2010

Contributed by Frank Bouchier Hayes

Anyone who encounters a series of carefully thought out cartoons in the Irish Independent in 1924 might be forgiven for thinking that the ‘Mac’ who created them was a sharply observant man. In fact, Isa Macnie was by then a distinguished member of the Dublin United Arts Club with a varied array of sporting, political and cultural associations behind her. Macnie made her first appearance in the pages of the Irish Times as a highly talented croquet player in 1901. Prior to taking up caricatures, she established a reputation as a gifted actress, sketch writer, composer and pianist. At a fundraising concert for Drumcondra Hospital in April 1911, it was reported that an impressive baritone named Wilfrid Douthitt had performed in encore “a very charming new song, ‘Here’s to Jane’ by a young Irish lady, Miss Isabel Macnie” who also provided the piano accompaniment. As a member of the Dublin University Dramatic Society, she took part in a special performance of Lady Windermere’s Fan in May 1912 to raise funds for the relatives of those who had perished in the Titanic disaster. In June 1913, she was involved in the staging of an elaborate pageant of nursing in Dublin to mark the inaugural Nursing Conference for the National Council of Trained Nurses of Great Britain and Ireland. A month earlier, she had presided at a public meeting in the Mansion House where she told the assembled gathering “that they were met there to inaugurate the public lending library in connection with the Irishwomen’s Reform League for the purpose of promulgating literature of a non-militant character”. Read more