Ruth Duffin

Ruth was born in Belfast in 1877, the eldest of nine children. Her father, Adam, a Liberal Unionist politician, was one of the first senators in the Northern Ireland parliament. Her mother was Maria, a granddaughter of United Irishman William Drennan. The family were prominent Unitarians. Maria’s and sisters Molly and Emma’s diaries also feature in this timeline.

The Duffins were members of Belfast’s high society with many wealthy and influential friends and relatives. Ruth was educated at home by a Governess, and later at Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

Ruth, her mother and sisters were prolific diarists. Ruth and her mother spent over forty years transcribing, editing and cataloguing William Drennan’s letters. She also published three volumes of poetry.

In 1914 she was appointed as the Warden of Riddell Hall, a women’s hall of residence for Queen’s University Belfast.

She died in 1968.

Researcher: Johanna Deaney

PRONI Reference for Diary: D2109/17/9 (Thanks to Mr. Michael Duffin)

Bio & Researcher's Note

Ruth Duffin Diary Entries

2nd November, 1903
I am dying for some frivolity...
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3rd December, 1903
Marion Jackson’s wedding...
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25th February, 1904
I was introduced to a good many new officers...
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24th March, 1904
Aunties have made me a delightful offer...
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21st April, 1904
Some of the men were awfully nice...
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5th May, 1904
It was a lovely night, warm and a splendid moon...
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6th June, 1904
No one who has not motored in these days can conceive the dust of the roads...
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23rd July, 1904
Baths are evidently out of the question...
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6th August, 1904
Such ugly women I never in my life beheld...
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25th September, 1904
Very bad taste for a picnic...
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19th October, 1904
It must be horrible to leave the home you have always lived in...
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23rd January, 1906
English ignorance of Ireland is unbelievable...
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