Mary Eva Kelly

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Portrait of Mary Eva O'Doherty (née Kelly)

Mary Eva Kelly (later O'Doherty) (1826–1910) was an Irish-Australian poet and writer who was widely known as Eva of the Nation.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Headford, County Galway, Ireland,[2] Kelly was educated privately with other members of her family. Her first poems were translations, including one of Alphonse de Lamartine's Dying Christian.


Mary Eva O'Doherty (née Kelly) in old age

Kelly became famous for her contributions to The Nation, the first being "The Banshee". Initially using her own name, she adopted the non-de-plume Eva starting with her "Lament for Davis". She also contributed prose, essays and ballads.

Personal life[edit]

The grave of Kevin and Mary O'Doherty at Brisbane's Toowong Cemetery
Kevin Izod O'Doherty Monument.JPG
Kevin Izod O'Doherty Monument 1.JPG

In 1848, Kelly met Kevin Izod O'Doherty who was in prison for his radical politics. She married him in 1855 at Kingstown[3] and they emigrated to Brisbane, Australia but returned to Ireland the following year. O'Doherty was elected M.P. for Meath. After a time in London they moved back to Brisbane where O'Doherty was elected a member of both houses of parliament in Queensland.

Later life[edit]

Mary Eva O'Doherty died at Rosalie, Brisbane on 21 May 1910[4] and was buried in Toowong Cemetery.[5]


  • Poems by Eva of the Nation (Mary Eva Kelly), San Francisco, Thomas, 1877.
  • Poems by Eva of the Nation (Mary Eva Kelly), edited by Séamas MacManus, with a biographical sketch by Justin McCarthy, Dublin, 1090.
  • Christine Kinealy, Repeal and Revolution. 1848 in Ireland (Manchester UP, 2009)


  1. ^ Boylan, Henry, ed. "Eva of the Nation" entry in A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 2nd ed. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1988, p. 107-108.
  2. ^ "Death of Mrs. K. I. O'Doherty.". Queensland Figaro. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 26 May 1910. p. 8. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Boylan, p. 108.
  4. ^ "DEATH OF "EVA", OF "THE NATION.".". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 24 May 1910. p. 7. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  5. ^ O'Doherty Mary Eva Archived 21 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine. — Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search. Retrieved 21 February 2015.

External links[edit]