Brodrick, Albinia Lucy (Gobnaít Ní Bhruadair) (1861–1955), republican and nurse, was born 17 December 1861 at 23 Chester Square, Belgrave, London, the fifth daughter of William Brodrick (1830–1907), 8th Viscount Midleton, and his wife, Augusta Mary (née Freemantle), daughter of the 1st Baron Cottesloe. Her early childhood was spent in London, and in 1870 her family moved to their country estate in Peper Harow, Surrey. She was educated privately, and her parents ensured that she received a comprehensive and rigorous education. She travelled extensively on the Continent, and spoke fluent German, Italian and French, and read Latin.
As a young woman she attended classes in nursing given by St John's Ambulance in Chelsea, and gave classes herself in adult literacy at the local school in Peper Harow. She also became a regular contributor of articles on a wide variety of topics to the St James Gazette. Throughout the 1890s she was engaged in managing the household affairs of her uncle, George Brodrick (d. 1903), warden of Merton College, Oxford, in whose home she met many of the leading political figures of the time, and in accompanying her blind father to the house of lords. As the author of the pro-union song ‘Irishmen stand’, her early political views conformed strongly to those of her family (her brother William Brodrick (qv), 1st earl of Midleton, was a leading southern unionist), but she came to revise and ultimately reject these opinions.
Visits with her father to the family estate in Co. Cork made an impression on her, and by 1902 she was writing in the St James Gazette about the need to develop Irish industry. She also came under the influence of the Gaelic revival and spent prolonged periods learning Irish in the Gaeltacht, where she was horrified by the widespread poverty. It is probable that she trained as a nurse in the district infirmary in Ashton-under-Lyne, where in 1904 she produced a volume of poetry entitled Verses of adversity. Its preface clearly indicates that it was written during a period of personal crisis. She seems to have had very little contact with her family after this and may have settled in Ireland permanently shortly after qualifying.
Following her father's death in 1907, which left her financially independent, she bought some land near West Cove, Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry. She renamed the area Ballincoona, and in 1908 established an agricultural cooperative to develop local industry. She organised classes on dietary matters, encouraged vegetarianism and nursed the local people during the smallpox epidemic of 1910. With a view to establishing a local hospital for the poor, she travelled to America in 1912 to raise funds. During her tour of the States she met many leading Irish Americans and took the opportunity to study American nursing. She established a hospital in Caherdaniel later that year, but it was never successful and eventually closed through lack of funds. She wrote on health matters for various magazines (including The Englishwoman and Fortnightly), was a member of the council of the National Council of Trained Nurses and gave evidence to the royal commission on venereal disease in 1914.
A supporter of the 1916 rising, she joined both Cumann na mBan and Sinn Féin. She visited internees in Frongoch camp, Wales, and wrote to the newspapers with practical advice for intending visitors. She canvassed for various Sinn Féin candidates during the general election of 1918 and was a Sinn Féin member on Kerry county council (1919–21), becoming one of its reserve chairmen. As a councillor, on one occasion she opposed economy measures issued by the dáil which sought to reduce the number of operating workhouses. She briefly resigned from the council in protest, but, having failed to reach a compromise, finally accepted the dáil's policy. During the war of independence she regularly sheltered IRA volunteers, and, as a result, her home was raided by the Black and Tans. With Dr Kathleen Lynn (qv) she worked with the Irish White Cross in distributing food to the IRA's dependants. Opposed to the Anglo–Irish treaty, she heckled Fionán Lynch (qv), her local TD, from the public gallery when he spoke in favour during dáil debates. She addressed several republican meetings in west Kerry and in April 1923 was shot in the leg and arrested by Free State troops. Imprisoned in the North Dublin Union, she was released after a two-week hunger strike. She continued to support Sinn Féin after the formation of Fianna Fáil, and in October 1926 represented Munster at the party's ard fheis. Owner of the party's semi-official organ Irish Freedom from 1926 to 1937, she regularly contributed articles and during its later years acted as editor. With the renewed wave of opposition from republicans to the Free State government in 1929, her home was subjected to raids by government forces on a regular basis. Following Cumann na mBan's decision at its 1933 convention to pursue a policy of social radicalism, she and her close friend Mary MacSwiney (qv) were among those who left the organisation to form the right-wing, nationalist movement Mná na Poblachta. It failed to attract many members and remained on the fringes of republicanism.
She regularly attended Conradh na Gaeilge branch meetings in Tralee. For many years she played the harmonium at Sneem's Church of Ireland services, and supported Church of Ireland missionary organisation. She was, however, sympathetic to catholicism, and always insisted that her catholic workers regularly attend mass. A woman of frugal habits and decided opinions, she was in many ways difficult and eccentric. She died 16 January 1955, and was buried in the Church of Ireland graveyard in Sneem, Co. Kerry. In her will she left the bulk of her wealth (£17,000) to republicans ‘as they were in the years 1919 to 1921’. After years of indecision and legal wrangles, Mr Justice Seán Gannon ruled in February 1979 that this bequest was ‘void for remoteness’ as it was impossible to determine which republican faction met her criteria.