Mullen, Madeleine ffrench- (1880–1944), nationalist and social advocate, was born 30 December 1880 in Malta, eldest child among two daughters and one son of St Laurence ffrench-Mullen, a Royal Navy surgeon. While she was a child, her father moved the family back to Ireland and they lived in Dundrum, Co. Dublin. He became a supporter of home rule, joined the party of C. S. Parnell (qv), and died when Madeleine was young. She too had strong political convictions and was one of the original contributors to Bean na hÉireann, the journal of Inghinidhe na hÉireann, editing the children's column from its inception in November 1908. She lived abroad in Brussels and Leipzig (1909–13). On her return to Dublin, she resumed her political activities, and served in the soup kitchen during the 1913 lock-out. She also later joined the Irish Citizen Army, through which she met her future lifelong friend and collaborator, Dr Kathleen Lynn (qv) who trained Madeleine's battalion in first aid. She served in the Citizen Army during the Easter rising, working in a first aid tent. She was arrested along with Constance Markievicz (qv) and interned in Kilmainham jail on 25 April. After her release on 8 May 1916, she worked with Belgian refugees. In 1919 she and Lynn established Teach Ultain, the first hospital for infants in Ireland. Appalled by the high rates of infant mortality in Dublin, largely because of syphilis, which were then heightened during an outbreak of influenza and tuberculosis that year, they established the hospital at 37 Charlemont St., beginning with two cots and about £70. It was a highly successful venture, aided by their ceaseless fundraising and by support from their wide range of established Dubliners, such as Hanna Sheehy Skeffington (qv), Maud Gonne MacBride (qv), and Áine Ceannt (qv). ffrench-Mullen was secretary of the hospital until her death.
For most of her adult life she lived with Lynn at 9 Belgrave Road, where they were close neighbours of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington. She remained active in nationalist politics and social causes, joining Sinn Féin. In 1920 she was out after curfew and was detained for spying but released three days later. That year she was also elected to Rathmines district council for Harolds Cross. At the Sinn Féin ard-fheis in October 1926, she argued for social and economic improvements, calling for Sinn Féin to support the provision of school meals, house-building programmes, and educational improvements. Her primary work for the remainder of her life was Teach Ultain.
In her later life she suffered from rheumatism, but her health severely declined after the death of her brother Douglas in 1943. In November 1943 she suffered a severe attack of cardiac asthma and never worked again. Prior to her death, her health had deteriorated so much that Lynn placed her in a nursing home for a few days while she prepared for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Teach Ultain. Madeleine lived to see this celebration, but died at the nursing home the following day, 26 May 1944, aged 63. After a funeral mass at the Carmelite church on Whitefriar St., she was buried in Glasnevin cemetery. Many dignitaries attended her funeral, including Éamon de Valera (qv) and Seán T. O'Kelly (qv) despite its coinciding with a general election, and her coffin was draped in a tricolour with an honour escort of the Citizen Army. She never married.