Teresa Mulally

Teresa Mulally was an exceptional woman who embodied many roles in her life. She was an educator, an entrepreneur, a devoted Catholic, a philanthropist, and a project manager. Born in Dublin in 1728, she inherited £70 from a relative in the late 1740s. With this money, she established a millinery business and later she was a prizewinner in the state lottery. In the mid-1760s, she altered the course of her life and decided to use her wealth to open a school for underprivileged girls in Dublin.

Above: Christopher Humphrey’s ornate letterhead can be seen here. He was a supplier of brass, pewter and copper goods. Teresa Mulally purchased 185 feet of gutters from him.
Above: Account of labourers employed sinking foundations for the chapel in 1792. Their names and the number of days they worked each week can be clearly seen

Together with two assistants, Mulally educated up to 100 girls, teaching them reading, writing, mathematics, as well as practical skills like knitting, needlework, and glove making. When she decided to build a convent she threw herself into the task and actively oversaw the completion of the build. She regularly inspected the site and every bill was sent directly to her. 

Above: Michael Fitzsimons’ bill for dry oil, linsead and turpentine

The detail in the bills and receipts is remarkable. Mulally moved into the convent with the Sisters and continued to manage the school’s finances. As more women joined the convent she moved to the orphan house she had built next door and lived there until her death in 1803.

Above: Bills such as this one from 1788 detailed everything from nails to sash cords to brass locks and slates