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Commemorating the women in the struggle 1916-23

category dublin | history and heritage | feature author Tuesday April 10, 2007 17:30author by NMI

North Inner City Folklore Project commemorates the women that the establishment forgot

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On Monday in Dublin, a local history group organised a commemoration of the brave women who fought alongside the men in the fight against British rule and the establishment of the Free State.

The march was led by a colour party of women wearing the uniforms of Cumann na mBán and the Irish Citizens Army and photographs of many of the women were carried on the march. After being erased from the historical record for many years (literally in the case of Elizabeth O'Farrell) the women of the 1916 to 1923 period of Irish history are starting to be recognised once again for the important role they played in the struggle for Irish freedom.

Women have always played an important role in the movements for Irish independence and the social struggles associated with them. However a hundred years ago, as events began to unfold which led to the Easter Rising of 1916, the war for independence, and the civil war, in many cases they played a decisive role. This was not just in terms of numbers, but also in quality of leadership, motivation and commitment.

Today's event reminds us that we should respect the influence women have had in Irish revolutionary history, and remember them with great regard.It is hoped that this commemoration will become a regular event in the Dublin calender.

For more information contact the
Dublin North Inner City Folklore Project,
19 Buckingham Street, Dublin 1.

Crowd gathering at Liberty Hall
Crowd gathering at Liberty Hall

Terry fagan, Director of the North Inner City Folklore Project
Terry fagan, Director of the North Inner City Folklore Project

Setting off for the GPO
Setting off for the GPO

Speeches at the GPO
Speeches at the GPO

Comments (17 of 17)

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author by NMIpublication date Mon Apr 09, 2007 21:59author address author phone

The event started with the flag raising at Liberty Hall followed by march to GPO where there were speeches in memory of the Republican women active in the period 1916-23 and presentation of replica Cumann na MBan badges to women active in the community of the North Inner City today.

The flag was raised at Liberty Hall by the grand daughter of Molly O'Reilly, who hoisted the Citiizen Army flag at Liberty Hall on Easter Monday 1916.

Crowd listening to speeches
Crowd listening to speeches

presentation of Replica CnmB badges to women activists
presentation of Replica CnmB badges to women activists

Crowd at the GPO
Crowd at the GPO

Spot the candidates- Joe Costello, Mary Lou McDonald, Cyprian Brady
Spot the candidates- Joe Costello, Mary Lou McDonald, Cyprian Brady

The tradition continues...
The tradition continues...

author by Unmanageablepublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 14:31author address author phone

We did liberty Hall too.

Where were you last year when we endured a military parade?

2006:- commerorating the women of 1916
2006:- commerorating the women of 1916

2006- commerorating the women of 1916
2006- commerorating the women of 1916

author by MORE 1916 THAN THOUpublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 14:58author address author phone

Yes, some of us remember the women of 1916. The broader public don't, I don't think yesterdays comm. was an attack on anyone on the left about forgetting the women of Easter Week!

Where were you? comments don't help to be honest, any and all commemorations should be welcomed.

author by inner city residentpublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 15:25author address author phone

The photos at the top show a genuine community based event with a broad cross section of people from the north inner city and beyond. The photos just added show a small group of eccentric people doing something that involves black shamrocks, and has no community involvement or base in the wider population.

One event was sincere and dignified, the other was done for its own sake, as a kind of prank.

To try and criticize the folks who organized yesterday's event because they didn't get involved in your stunt last year shows a lack of maturity, and a desire to draw attention to yourself and away from others which is sad to see.

author by Allyatespublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 22:40author address author phone

Mo cara

Where was the commemoration of James Larkin, Countess Markievicz, and James Connolly, the great Marxist without whom the link of nationalism and the common citizen would never have been made. When he was shot alongside the IRB, the Brits shot a labour union worker, and so helped condem themselves in the eyes of evey socialist in Ireland and Britain.

For decades the IRB had a view to their goal, but only found the gaol, through the land league they found their first link to the Irishman, and got him into the habit of home-rule; but that was not enough. The IRB needed socialists; and what better than the Irish Unions; and their defence force the ICA.

Without socialism there would have been no Ireland.

May the nurses gain their victory; for those sick in hospital today; will benefit from their victory in years to come. Ireland needs more nurses; not too few doing too many hours.

go seasmhach.

author by Frank - National 1916 Commemoration Committeepublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 00:25author address author phone

Volunteer Josephine McGowan remembered.

Related Link:
author by hawk eyepublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 01:34author address author phone

very good commemoration but, who placed the wrath in center of picture with the Italian colours


author by Porcopublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:55author address author phone

That is the official "Irish government" wreath.

author by Goblinpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:56author address author phone

Bertie put it there, Its still there but the two outer ones are gone.

author by Louise Gaffneypublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 18:33author address author phone

Just a query did you have any posters put up advertising the event ?

author by Lpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 23:22author address author phone

There was posters all over - they're still up on Talbot Street and Amiens Street

author by lao tzupublication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 17:15author address author phone

it's very cool, that is it would be very cool, lao says that because if this means that maybe somehow people are starting to really commemorate this rising, that would be cool.

¿Do you know in other countries they ask about ireland’s national days, of independence? of commemoration? of remembering heroes? But no, there is no day no memory, IRA only bad bad, although maybe there is a national day about some twisted f**k who brought the worst of dogmatic f**ked up religion to the island of fairies.

For whatever happened afterwards, making one glad maybe that those dead revolutionaries didn't live to see the failure, the revolution is still young! Remember, remember is not over, ha ha, even here it is not possible to have more than 3 comments before some faction fighting breaks out. revolution very young.

author by dunkpublication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 18:28author address author phone

the unmanageables website has many interesting links

'They are at once the boldest and the most unmanageable of revolutionaries.' Eamon de Valera

Related Link:
author by Ghandi of North Strand - Nonepublication date Fri Apr 13, 2007 09:07author email malachysteenson at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone

One of those who attended the event 80 years old Marion Steenson (nee Murphy) one of the daughters of
Martha Murphy (nee O' Kelly) born Kilmainham 1st January 1896 and died on 15th September 1943

Member of GPO Garrison 1916, Cumann Na mBan, initially posted to The Imperial Hotel (now Clery's)
then assigned to the GPO,

Also a member of the Red Cross Corp, Irish Citizen Army under Captain Kathleen Lynn

She was then sent up to the Pro Cathedral, where a field hospital had been set up, to take care
of the many wounded brought there.

After the Surrender she was taken to Kilmainham Gaol and held until 22nd may 1916

Whilst in Kilmainham she fell in love with Michael Murphy, from Glasnevin, who was Officer in Command, A Company, 2nd Battalion in
Boland's Mill he subsequently was Captain C Company 3rd Batallion Dublin Brigrade Oglaigh na H-Eireann.

They married on the 21st April 1918 and moved to 1 Leinster Avenue, North Strand, where they had 19 Children.
Both continued their involvement in the defence of the Republic.

Michael in Oglaigh na H-Eireann and Martha in Cumman na mBan.

Their male children all joined Fianna Eireann and later Oglaigh na H-Eireann whilst their female children joined Cumann na gCailini
(junior Cumann na mBan) and Cumann na mBan.

There are two survivors of Martha and Michael,

Marion who subsequently married IRA leader Leo Steenson (RIP) from Belfast in 1962 and celebrated her 80th Birthday last month
has lived all her life in 1 Leinster Avenue, North Strand and joined Cumann na gCailini at the age of 10, subsequently joining Cumann
na mBan at around 16 and staying a member until the late 70's.

The Murphy family were heavily in Republician and Trade Union Politics over the years, with many of the members being jailed or
interned over the years.

Vera married Michael Connolly (RIP) of the well know Piping family from Rathcoole.

Both Michael & Martha were awarded 1916 medals and War of Independance medals for active service and both appear in the 1936
photograph of survivors of the 1916 Garrison a copy of which hangs in the GPO.

Despite her 80 Years Marion attended the event along with other family members, and welcommed teh fact taht at last some one was
honouring the women who gave so much and were forgotten.

author by Ghandi of North Strandpublication date Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:52author address author phone

Marion Steenson (nee Murphy) attending the event


author by ghandi of north Strandpublication date Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:55author address author phone

Marion Sttenson (nee Murphy0 at the GPO


author by tormccpublication date Tue Apr 14, 2009 02:29author address author phone

Thanks for remembering these women.

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