Iris Ashley Cummins

Iris Ashley Cummins was born in Glanmire, Co. Cork and had 10 siblings. In 1915 Iris was the first female to graduate from UCC with a degree in Engineering. She began her own private practice in Cork as a land surveyor in 1924. In 1927, Cummins was appointed first female land surveyor (outdoor staff) for the Irish Land Commission. Iris was a keen hockey player. She gained her first cap in hockey in 1911 when she was 15 and played in all international matches from then until 1929 (except in 1911 and 1921), playing left half, right half and centre half and, at the end of her international career with Monkstown club, as goalkeeper. Her first and last cap were against England.

She began as a senior player in 1910 with Cork Ladies. In her first season Cummins played on the Munster Interprovincial side. During her time as an undergraduate, she played on the UCC Women’s Hockey team. In 1914 she was captain of the team that won the Munster Cup [photo, UCC Official Gazette, Vol. 4 No 12 (June 1914).]

Cummins retired from international hockey in 1939. Three of her sisters (Dorothy, Mary Ellice and Phyllis) also played hockey for Ireland. She was President of the Irish Ladies Hockey Union for the years 1923-25 and was captain of the Irish team on several occasions.

As an Irish Hockey International, she captained the team that travelled to USA in 1925. The team visited the White House at the invitation of President Calvin Coolidge.

She retired in 1954 from the Irish Land Commission. Iris Cummins died on 30 April 1968 at Adelaide Hospital, Dublin, and is buried in the graveyard of St Lappan’s Church, Little Island, Co. Cork, in the same grave as her sister Geraldine Dorothy Cummins. The Iris Ashley Cummins Building (formerly Civil Engineering Building) at UCC was named in her honour on 22 February 2022.

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