The Heroic Women of 1916 - ShanOre Irish Jewlery

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The Heroic Women of 1916

Discover the names of some female freedom fighters who played critical roles in the Easter Uprising of 1916

Easter is just around the corner, and in Ireland, we have two holidays to mark the occasion. There is the religious side, celebrated by a bunny delivering chocolate, and the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising (the last stage of the quest for an independent Irish republic).

2016 marked the 100th anniversary of one of the most pivotal events in Irish history. Since then, more and more people are becoming aware of the women who played critical roles in the Easter Uprising. Here are a few names to know of Ireland’s female freedom fighters, and heroic women of 1916.

Countess Markievicz

Constance Markievicz: Irish Woman You Should Know

Constance Georgine Gore-Booth gained her title and her more well-known surname from her husband, and she is probably the woman most associated with the 1916 Easter Uprising.

Markievicz was second in command at St. Stephen’s Green during the uprising. She was jailed for her role and sentenced to death. Her sentence was later commuted to life in prison because she was a woman, but she was released as part of a general amnesty the following year.

Markievicz got elected to the British House of Commons (but did not take her seat as part of her opposition to British rule of Ireland) and later to the Dáil (the Irish parliament).


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Kathleen Lynch

A relative of Countess Markievicz and a member of the Irish Citizens Army, Dr. Lynch was the chief medical officer stationed at City Hall and Dublin Castle for the uprising.

City Hall was captured and held for less than a day. The commander at the site, Sean Connolly, was killed by a sniper in the afternoon, and the surviving troops could not hold out more than a few hours after that.

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Elizabeth Farrell

Elizabeth O'Farrell

A nurse, Farrell played a key but often overlooked role at the General Post Office where she served. Among the five members of the provisional government stationed at the GPO, there were three women, and Farrel was one of them. She was there at the end when the rebels left and took shelter in a neighboring house.

Farrell braved British fire and left the house, white flag in hand, to relay messages between the British military leader and the five members of the provisional government – Padraig Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas Clarke, Sean MacDiarmada and Joseph Mary Plunkett – negotiating the surrender.


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Margaret Skinnider

Before the Uprising, Skinnider gave orders as a teacher in a primary school. However, she may have found leading soldiers easier. British troops shot her when she was leading five men on Harcourt Street. Luckily Skinnider survived three bullet wounds, and also served as a scout and sniper during the Uprising.

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To sum it up

These are only a few of the 100 or more women who served in the 1916 Uprising. While many were nurses and some doctors, their roles were not limited to medical care. Women took up arms alongside men and served in many capacities in the fight for Irish freedom and independence.

Yes, the Irish mother is stereotypically affectionate and dotes on her young. But don’t cross her, or you’ll see what she has inherited from her fighting foremothers.


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