Profiles of Women

Constance Markievicz

Constance Markievicz was a countess in a well-off aristocratic family.  She became active first in the women's suffrage movement and soon after she joined Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army.  She served as an officer during the war and actively participated in militant acts.  She was arrested during the war and sentenced to death - as were all of the male ICA officers.  The sentence was immediately reduced to life imprisonment because of her sex, and she only served jailtime until December of 1917.  The conditions in the British jail in which she was imprisoned were extremely harsh, and she spent the rest of her life fighting to improve the prison system.  She is one of the most well-known figures of the Easter Uprising, and much of Irish folklore has been centered around her character ever since.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Elizabeth O'Farrell

Elizabeth O'Farrell was another Cumann na mBan member who soon became part of the Irish Citizen Army.  She served as a courier both before and during the Uprising, and transported many important documents throughout the countryside, spreading the news of the rebellion.  When the time came she was chosen to deliver the orders of surrender first to the British commander and then to the ICA troops throughout Dublin.  She was one of only five women detained for any length of time in British prisons after the Uprising.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Helena Molony

Helena Molony was also an active Irish woman before, during, and after the Easter Uprising.  She was involved in the early years of Cumann na mBan and edited the women's newspaper Bean na hEireann.  She later served as an officer in the Irish Citizen Army and was part of the armed group that stormed Dublin Castle during the Uprising.  She too was imprisoned after the revolt, and attempted to escape using a spoon to dig a tunnel.  She failed, and as a result the female prisoners were no longer allowed to eat with utensils.  She remained lifelong friends and activists with Constance Markievicz.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Winifred Carney

Winifred Carney was a suffragist and an advocate for trade unions who was working as James Connolly's secretary at the time of the Uprising.  She was the only woman who participated in the initial occupation of the Grand Post Office, where the ICA set up its headquarters during the revolt.  She was well known not only for her loyalty to the ICA and to Connelly, but also for her reputation of being a crack shot
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

.Photographs can be found in Ruth Taillon's Women of 1916 and Margaret Ward's "The League of Women Delegates and Sinn Fein."  For complete information on these works please see the bibliography page.

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