Gubbins, Beatrice (1878–1944), watercolour artist and traveller, was born 19 September 1878 in Co. Limerick, the youngest of the two sons and five daughters of Thomas Wise Gubbins, distiller, and his wife, Frances Gertrude (née Russell) of Askeaton, Co. Limerick. The family moved to Cork in 1883, when her father inherited Wises’ Distillery at North Gate, Cork, through his mother's family. Soon they bought Dunkathel, a large house and estate overlooking the River Lee at Glanmire, just outside Cork city. Her childhood was quite Victorian in manner: disciplined, yet not stifling, with plenty of freedom to develop her artistic abilities. It is thought that she trained at the Crawford School of Art, Cork, but unfortunately the registers are not complete for this period. One of her brothers, Joseph, was a champion yachtsman and the other, Russell, served abroad as a colonel in the artillery. The girls in the family, including Beatrice, suffered to some degree from congenital deafness. She, however, received treatment in London (in 1912–13), which seems to have improved her condition. Only one of her sisters married, and she returned to Dunkathel when her husband died after just five years of marriage. The eldest sister farmed at the neighbouring Hermitage. Between them they ran the house and farm after their father died, in 1904, with most of the decoration of the house left to Beatrice. Many of her early watercolours are views of Dunkathel and the people who worked there. She and her sisters were active in the community, helping the poor and looking after the church. They went hunting and played tennis in the summer and liked to holiday around Ireland, travelling in the family Daimler. She painted watercolours on her holidays in the west of Ireland. Many notable paintings date from her second visit to Italy (in 1905) and Spain (in 1906). She was orderly and kept diaries of her life and travels (1911–36), but they give scant details of her painting or artistic interests. She made a trip in 1902 to the artists’ colony at Barbizon.
During the first world war she trained as a nurse and worked at the Tivoli hospital, Cork, nursing the injured brought in from the fighting on the continent. Later she moved to a hospital in Exeter, England (1916–19). From there she allowed herself the occasional cycling trip, on a bicycle she restored herself, to the countryside in Devon to do some sketching. She regarded the landscape of Dartmoor as greatly inferior to that of Connemara. She returned to Cork in 1919, to help look after her ailing mother, who died in 1927; she was still able to take some holidays. Her interest in beauty and culture took her to Italy in 1920 to visit the art and architectural treasures of Florence and Siena. Again in Italy, and Sicily, in 1924, with her friend Honor, she visited the area around Mt Etna and noted seeing burning lava. After her mother's death, she went with her brother and his wife to Avignon and to Morocco in 1929. She recorded an amusing description in her diary of, in a performance for the tourists, the rhythmic clapping and the belly-dancing of the Arab women, which offended her modesty somewhat. In Morocco she visited the temples and mosques, and painted street scenes and made figure studies. A trip to the West Indies in 1930 seems to have been largely spent on the boat in rough seas. Her first flight was from London to Algeria and Tunis in 1931, which she described, in her own terse manner, as wonderful but noisy and foggy. She returned early because of the civil disturbances in Algeria. Her last recorded trip was to Portugal in 1934, with her friend Honor, where she was greatly impressed by the architecture and produced some beautiful paintings. Most of these paintings, visual records of her travels, can be seen at Dunkathel.
Gubbins was for some years honorary secretary of the Queenstown (Cobh) Sketching Club, founded in the 1890s. The members used pseudonyms to preserve anonymity and hence could criticise without offence. She often signed herself Greyhound or Benjamin, and some of her works have the criticisms of other members still attached. They did not hold exhibitions, but she exhibited with the Belfast Arts Society (1911–13), with the Watercolour Society of Ireland over a number of years, and regularly with the RHA (1899–1937). She died 12 August 1944 at Dunkathel and is buried on Little Island. Exhibitions of her work were held in the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork, in 1986, and in the Lismore Arts Centre, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, in 1998.