Dr Mary J Farrell studied medicine at UCD at a time when very few women attended university, and graduated first in her class in 1916. She spent a number of years working in England during the First World War, and later spent 2 years volunteering with the West African Medical Service in Nigeria, where she pioneered and studied advanced inoculation techniques. In 1930, Dr Farrell returned to her native Longford to take up the post of Dispensary Doctor and Medical Officer. She dedicated her life to relieving the suffering of others, and in particular the poor and marginalised in society.

Dr Mary J Farrell graduation photo
Dr Mary J Farrell on her graduation in 1916.

The Dr Mary J Farrell General Practice Fund
In 2018, thanks to the generous support of Dr Farrell’s niece Patricia O’Kelly, UCD School of Medicine established The Dr Mary J Farrell General Practice Fund to honour her legacy. The purpose of the fund is to promote General Practice as a career and to support General Practice needs in underserved communities.

Since then, the fund has provided an annual Summer Scholarship in General Practice Research and has made a significant impact on General Practice education and research at UCD.

Looking ahead, UCD School of Medicine wants to expand the scope and impact of the fund, ensuring its sustainability well into the future:

  • The next phase of the fund will continue to support the annual Dr Mary J Farrell Summer Scholarship in General Practice Research, which provides funding for a medical student to complete a summer research elective in primary care and family medicine.
  • Launching this year, the Dr Mary J Farrell Graduate Research Bursary in General Practice Research will be awarded to a GP or Practice Nurse working in an affiliated practice, to support their undertaking a higher degree or a research project in a specific area of General Practice.
  • Recognising Dr Farrell’s own work and concerns, we are ambitious to evolve and grow the impact of the fund into areas such as mental health; health in Africa; women’s health; support for medical students facing financial barriers; support for GP needs in underserved communities.

Your support for the Dr Mary J Farrell General Practice Fund can have a lasting impact. You can help to transform General Practice in Ireland by supporting our vision for a future in which every person has access to world-class primary healthcare in their community.

Donations to the Mary J Farrell General Practice Fund can be made here.

UCD School of Medicine Conferrings Photo Iain White / Fennell Photography 2019
Patricia O’Kelly and her cousins Jacqueline Quinn, Jill Whyte and Lucius Farrell – nieces and nephew of Dr Mary J Farrell – pictured with Mary Ellen McMahon, the inaugural recipient of the Mary J Farrell Student Summer Research Award and Dr Sean Griffin, recipient of the Mary J Farrell Medal in General Practice. Photo: Iain White / Fennell Photography 2019