March 12, 2016

6 Women: 1916 Uprising portraits by David Rooney

Kathleen Lynn
Kathleen Lynn (1874–1955), a clergyman's daughter from Co. Mayo, was a medical doctor devoted to services for the poor, a woman's suffragist and separatist. Chief medical officer of the Irish Citizen Army, during the Easter Rising she supervised a first-aid station in Dublin City Hall until t he garrison's surrender. In 1919 she established St Ultan's Hospital for Infants, and in the 1930s pioneered BCG inoculations against tuberculosis.

Constance Markievicz
Constance Markievicz (1868–1927) was born in London, the daughter of Sir Henry Gore-Booth of Lissadell, Co. Sligo. Breaking with her Ascendancy background, she joined Sinn Féin and Inghinidhe na hÉireann, and co-founded Na Fianna Éireann in 1909. During Easter week she served as second-in-command of the Irish Citizen Army garrison in the College of Surgeons. Her death sentence was commuted and she was released from prison in June 1917. The first woman to be elected a Westminster MP in 1918, she was minister for labour in the Dáil cabinet (1919–21).

Helena Molony
Helena Molony (1883–1967) was a grocer's daughter from Dublin's north city-centre market district. Active in the feminist and separatist movements, she was an Abbey Theatre actress, trade union official, secretary of the Irish Citizen Army women's group, and manager of the Liberty Hall women workers' co·operative which made uniforms and equipment in preparation for the Easter Rising. She served in the ICA City Hall garrison that surrendered on the evening of Easter Monday, and was interned in England until December 1916.

Elizabeth O'Farrell
Elizabeth O'Farrell (1884–1957) was born in Dublin and worked as a midwife at Holles Street hospital. A committed trade unionist, she was also involved in nationalist and suffragist organisations. She served in the GPO during Easter week. delivering Pearse's offer of surrender to British forces, and his surrender order to other insurgent garrisons. After the Easter Rising, she remained a dedicated republican activist.

Mary Perolz.jpg
Mary Perolz (1874–1950) was born in Market Alley, Limerick city and raised in Tralee and Cork city, where her father worked on the Cork Examiner. Prominent in Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army, she was dispatched as a courier carrying the remobilisation orders from Patrick Pearse to the Cork city Volunteers. Elected acting president for the Irish Women Workers' Union in 1917. she remained an outspoken champion of the rights of women in industry and the labour movement.

Margaret Skinnider
Margaret Skinnider (1893–1971) was a Glasgow-born mathematics teacher of Co. Monaghan extraction. Joining the lrish Citizen Army on a Dublin visit, she returned to assist in preparations for the Easter Rising. During Easter week she cycled around Dublin carrying dispatches and also took sniper duty in military uniform in the College of Surgeons. Critically wounded in a sortie, she was the most serious female casualty among the rebels, and recovered after seven weeks in hospital.

Illustrations by David Rooney, from 1916: Portraits and Lives (Royal Irish Academy).

Also see: Eight Women of the Easter Rising” by Sadhbh Walshe, New York Times, March 16, 2016