English, Adeline (‘Ada’) (1875–1944), doctor, academic, and nationalist, was born 10 January 1875 in Caherciveen, Co. Kerry, younger daughter of Patrick English, pharmaceutical chemist, and Nora English (née McCardle). She was reared in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, though her father may have later been employed by Ballinasloe asylum, as her address on matriculation (1895) is given as the asylum. Educated at the local Loreto Convent and at university classes in Lower Merrion St., Dublin, she graduated from the Royal University of Ireland in Dublin, where she was one of the earliest women students at the school of medicine in Cecilia Street. While in Dublin she became interested in the Gaelic League, and attended Irish classes given by her friend Patrick Pearse (qv), becoming a fluent speaker. On graduating MB, B.Ch., and BAO in 1903, she briefly worked as house surgeon in the Children's Hospital, Temple St., as clinical assistant in Richmond Asylum, and in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, before accepting a post as assistant medical officer at the asylums for the mentally ill in Ballinasloe and Castlerea. She subsequently became involved with the Ballinasloe branch of the Women's National Health Association, serving as its honorary secretary for a short time, and in 1914 was appointed as the first statutory lecturer in mental diseases at UCG.
In the years preceding the 1916 rising she became politically active, joining the Ballinasloe branch of Sinn Féin on its foundation in 1910. She served as medical officer to the Irish Volunteers from their inception, and later joined Cumann na mBan, holding a seat on their executive for many years. In 1921 she was tried and convicted at Renmore barracks for possession of Cumann na mBan literature. Though sentenced to nine months in prison, she was released from Galway jail after six months, having contracted ptomaine poisoning. That year she was returned to the dáil as a Sinn Féin representative for the NUI, and, like the rest of the women TDs, opposed the treaty. Her dáil career proved brief. She lost her seat the following year, but shortly after her electoral defeat joined Cathal Brugha (qv) in his occupation of the Hammam Hotel in Upper O'Connell St. during the civil war. Thereafter she concentrated primarily on her career, though she did actively campaign for the use of Irish manufactured goods in Irish institutions.
Throughout her lengthy association with the Ballinasloe asylum she did much to bring in the changes that transformed it into an up-to-date mental hospital. She was particularly active in introducing occupational therapy to the hospital; her commitment to the institution, and specifically to her patients, resulted in her turning down an offer of the post of resident medical superintendent (RMS) at Sligo mental hospital in 1921. For a time she was involved in the drama group that was formed in the hospital. Appointed RMS to Ballinasloe by 1941, she retired from her post at UCG in 1943, and died 27 January 1944 in Ballinasloe. At her express wish she was buried alongside her former patients in nearby Creagh cemetery.