Cummins, Geraldine (Dorothy) (1890–1969), writer, suffragist, and psychic, was born 24 January 1890 at 17 St Patrick's Place, Cork city, fifth child and eldest daughter of William Edward Ashley Cummins, MD, later professor of medicine at UCC, and Jane Cummins (née Constable Hall), also of Cork. The family subsequently moved to Woodville, Glanmire, Co. Cork, where she spent her early years. Educated privately at home, as a child she was a voracious reader, and, like her sister Iris (qv), was a keen sportswoman, playing on the Irish international hockey team in 1910. Her friendship with fellow Corkwoman Susanne Rouvier Day (qv) proved significant. Both women played an active role in the Cork suffrage movement as founder members – with Edith Somerville (qv) – of the non-party, non-sectarian, and non-militant Munster Women's Franchise League (MWFL), and regularly spoke at open-air rallies and MWFL meetings throughout the south-west of Ireland. These could, at times, be rowdy, hostile events, and on one occasion in 1914 Cummins was stoned on the streets of Cork. A contributor to the suffrage weekly, the Irish Citizen, she was also involved in the Irish Women's Suffrage Federation, and produced a pamphlet entitled Women in the learned professions for their library. She and Day went on to collaborate as writers for several years. Following on from a production (April 1913) of their play ‘Broken faith’ at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, their match-making comedy ‘Fox and geese’ was successfully staged there (February 1917, revived December 1917) and subsequently produced at the Court Theatre, London, while ‘The way of the world’ was staged in Cork in 1914. She continued to write after Day left Ireland in 1916, and in 1919 published a feminist novel, The land they loved. In January 1920 she entered into a disastrous marriage with the poet Austin Clarke (qv) which lasted ten days.
The publication of some of her short stories in the Pall Mall magazine financed a brief but eventful holiday in France in June 1914. During her stay she became acquainted with her compatriot Hester Dowden (qv), who invited her to attend one of her seances. This marked the beginning of Cummins's lifelong involvement in psychical affairs. She continued to attend seances after her return to Ireland, eventually receiving training as a medium under Dowden, with whom she worked closely throughout the war years. According to her own accounts she came to communicate through a guiding spirit or control named ‘Astor’. It was through Dowden that she later (1923) met fellow psychical enthusiast Beatrice Gibbs, who invited her to share her west London home to collaborate on psychical research. In the years that followed, most of her time was taken up by this work, though she managed to maintain contact with Ireland through regular visits to Cork. While producing some purely literary publications, notably her novel Fires of Beltane (1936), her biography (1952) of Edith Somerville, and a collection of short stories, Variety show (1959), the bulk of her writing, published and unpublished, relates to her psychical work. These include Beyond human personality (1935), After Pentecost (1944), The childhood of Jesus (1957), and Swan on a black sea (1965). Her most controversial work proved to be her dictation books, such as The scripts of Cleophas (1927), Paul in Athens (1930), and The great days of Ephesus (1933), which were written rapidly and, according to Cummins, dictated by an early Christian named ‘Silencio’. In 1950 the ownership of these writings was legally challenged: Cummins won the case on the grounds that a spirit could not own copyright. Her autobiography Unseen adventures (1951) is primarily an account of her psychic experiences. A regular contributor to Better Business, the Occult Review, and Yorkshire Post, she is said to have worked as an intelligence agent for the British during the second world war. She remained in London after Gibbs's death, inheriting her Chelsea home, and only returning to Cork during her last illness. She died there 25 August 1969 and was buried in St Lappan's churchyard, Little Island.