Women’s Suffrage and Edna Purtell

Women’s Suffrage

Women on Different Continents fighting for a common cause.

Both Eva Gore Booth and Edna Purtell and others like them fought for women’s rights but in different ways and on different shores.

Eva Gore Booth 1

 Eva Gore Booth, an Anglo-Irish woman from County Sligo Ireland, had always been sensitive to the plight of others, as was her more famous sister, Constance Gore Booth or the Rebel Countess as she became known during Ireland’s rebellious past. Both women grew up educated, well cared for, and worldly.  While Constance would live most of her adult life in Ireland, Eva  moved to Manchester, England to live with her lifelong companion, Esther Roper. Both women worked toward women’s suffrage, a journey they spent their lifetime traveling through. They wrote letters, created posters and banners, and gave speeches. Had anyone listened though? Anyone that could give women the vote which would help them change their circumstances.

women's suffrage

Women’s Suffrage Protestor escorted by British Police

The fight for women’s suffrage was not a new war nor an unusual battle at this time in history yet the way Eva and Esther fought was different from many who spoke out in England and even in America. Eva and Esther were pacifists while the rest of the world moved toward more controversial and often risky means of protest.

The media labeled them, Suffragettes.

These women believed the only way to win women the vote was to force the general public, specifically men, to stand up and take notice of their demands. The only way to do that ..  was to shock them.

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New Book

New Book Petticoat Rebels of 1916

Extraordinary Women in Ireland’s Struggle for Freedom

By Brighid O’Sullivan

Petticoat Rebels of 1916 ebook smallExcerpt from Chapter 7:

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Radio Broadcast and the Easter Rising

Radio and 10 Things You didn’t know about the Easter Rising

Part 2

radioA Wedding Postponed

#6.  Thomas Dillon and Geraldine Plunkett were supposed to be married in a double wedding with Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett on Easter Sunday.

Joseph Plunkett was a leader and planner of  the Rising. The Sinn Fein Rebellion, as it was known by the British would not have happened without him. He was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and helped plan the Rising by studying military tactics although he’d never before been a soldier. He also was involved in getting word out to the rest of the world on a radio. As one of the signatories of the Irish Proclamation, he was executed as well.

Joseph postponed his marriage to Grace Gifford but with all the confusion the day before the Rising he said that if he was arrested he still wanted to get married in Kilmainham Jail, which he did. Just hours after the couple took their vows, Joseph Plunkett was shot by firing squad. He was already dying of tuberculosis.

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Blog to Book/ Author Interview

Blog to Book

Author Interview w/ Shannon Haire

I am pleased to introduce the readers of Celticthoughts.com to author, Shannon Haire who has just released her new book, Petticoat, Patriots, and Partition. Shannon also writes a blog called Choosing the Green,

smilefistInterview w/ Shannon Haire

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10 Funny Lines from the Easter Rebellion

10 Funny Lines and Events from the Easter Rebellion

Part I

There is  nothing funny about war, executions, a city destroyed, arrests, or risking one’s life but human beings have always found laughter in the most stressful of situations. Perhaps it helps them deal with a stressful situation, make them feel they are in control of something that is uncontrollable. The Easter Rebellion was no different. Add to this the fact that Irishmen are usually looking for a good laugh and you have funny lines or events that ..yes… happened during the Easter Rebellion.

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Easter Rising Rebels would not give their names

Why the rebels of the Easter Rising would not give their names

Frongoch Concentration Camp in north Wales was not without its sacrifices for the rebels of the Easter Rising in 1916. While it is true the men had considerably more freedom at Frongoch in the old distillery compared to Kilmainham Gaol, Knutsford, or Wandsworth Prisons in England where they suffered solitary confinement,  one of the biggest personal price they paid was inflicted on themselves by themselves.

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Why did the Easter rising fail?

Why did the Easter Rising of 1916 fail?

Or did it?

Success or failure in anything at all depends on 3 factors:

Timing,

Point of view,

Long term affects.

Easter Rising CommenorationLet’s look at the facts.

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Rebels as German Spies

Rebels or German Spies in 20th Century Ireland

Of all the Petticoat Rebels I have written about I think Sidney Gifford is one of my favorites. Perhaps it was because she never let anyone tell her she couldn’t do something. Like so many other female rebels in 20th century Ireland she accomplished extraordinary goals in a male dominated world.

Irish Freedom paper 2Sidney Gifford was a writer but not just any writer. While it was acceptable for females to write about subjects such as housekeeping and cooking Miss Gifford took another path entirely with pen and paper. She wrote political and considered radical essays about Irish freedom and British tyranny. She did this in not one but 2 countries. Ireland and the  America and took the pen name, John Gifford to make sure her articles were read.

 

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How One Woman’s Life Made a Difference

 LIFE AND TIMES OF CONSTANCE MARKIEVICZ

the life of Constance MarkieviczReferred to as Madam by many of her friends, Constance Markievicz was well known throughout Dublin during the period leading up to the Easter Rising.

Her life has been documented in books and periodicals as a woman that was militant, dangerously outspoken, and rebellious; a women who is described as craving the limelight and the only leader not executed after the Rising but is that all there was to her?

Life of Constance MarkieviczShe was born Constance Georgine Gore-Booth in 1868.

Until almost 30 years of age, she lived with her parents in a manor house called Lissadell and had all that any lady of wealth and class could hope for except what she wanted. A life!

In her diary she wrote:‘I feel the want. Women are made to adore and sacrifice themselves, and I as a woman, I demand as a right that Nature should provide me with something to live for, something to die for. Why should I alone never experience the best and at the same time the worst of Life’s Gifts?’ 

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Irish Boy Scouts Foreshadowed the IRA

Fianna EireannanIrish Boy Scouts Foreshadowed the IRA

Na Fianna Eireann, the Irish boy scouts was founded in 1909 by Constance Markievicz.  When she first began the organization it was with the purpose of teaching the boys basic survival techniques, Ireland’s history and a sense of national pride, something that she felt had been missing for way too long in the schools of Ireland. Since the beginning of Colonization, only British  history was taught and everything Irish suppressed. Not only  history but  Irish music,  native sports,  Irish dress, and worst of all the Irish tongue. At the time of the Fianna a great wave of nationalism was in the air. Fostering the native language was at the top of the Gaelic League’s list. Some thought this could be accomplished while still remaining in the United Kingdom but others like Constance Markievicz, Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and others became increasingly convinced that breaking away from England was the only way to save Ireland. The Fianna would be a key players in that dream. A dream that had nothing to do with playing soldier for they were in fact real soldiers.  In the words of Constance Markievicz It will take the best and the noblest of Ireland’s children to win Freedom.   Irish boy scouts

Under the discipline of their own peers, the Fianna members grew from boys to men, learning everything from camp-life and knot tying to signalling, marching in formation, and how to use a  rife properly.  They formed pipe bands and hurling teams all over the country. They also learned basic first-aid.

In 1913,the Fianna  trained the newly formed military group, the Irish Volunteers. At this time in Europe, Ireland was one of the most poverty stricken countries in all of Europe. The infant mortality rate soared, and many Dublin Irish lived in one room run-down tenements.  Wages were low; employment conditions unfair, and when the Irish formed  the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, Dublin businesses locked out their employees.  People were barely living on their wages as it was. Now they were starving. The Fianna and others set up a Soup Kitchen in Liberty Hall and fed soup and sandwiches to over 3000 people a day.

In 1914, Fianna soldiers marched with the older Irish Volunteers from Dublin, bringing with them bicycles and a trek cart  to intercept German guns being smuggled in the Howth Harbor on the ship, Asgard. When the British realized what was going on a great collision began between volunteers and the British. The guns were hidden in the Scout’s cart and whisked away under British noses.  According to an unknown eye witness The Scouts were even pluckier than the volunteers. every one of them held onto his rifle as he would hold his own life.

Fianna boys at Howth gun running By 1916 the country was in open rebellion against the British, beginning with the taking over of the General Post Office in Dublin and declaring Ireland a Republic. The Fianna soldiers were in the thick of the fighting. This is what they trained for. With the quickness of youth, they cycled from one point to another, passing dispatches or signals by  means of a heliograph or fighting and some lost their lives. By 1919 Ireland was in a Civil War and the Fianna were older. Some had already joined the Irish Volunteers or the  Irish Republican Brotherhood. This later became known as  the IRA.Fianna boys at Constance's graveside

In 1909 Constance decided to make a commune for her Fianna boys North of the city in Belcamp Park. She felt it would get them away from the unhealthy atmosphere of city life, they would learn about farming and continue their military training. Lots of hungry scouts arrived but it was not a great success.   The commune was to be run by Constance, Bulmer Hobson and Helena Molony but Hobson thought it women’s work and was never around. . Rumors spread that Hobson was sharing his bed with both women and people refused to do business with them.  The large rooms were difficult to heat,  food was not delivered as ordered, the garden only produced weeds, and soon they ran out of money. The house also appeared to be haunted and food disappeared. When Casimir, Constance husband,  returned  from the Ukraine, he first made appearances at his favorite pubs where he was told that his wife had moved and how.

 Casmir Markievicz was the husband of Constance and quite a character. He was away in Poland when his wife was working with her scouts. His biography is interesting. In The Polish Irishman by Patrick Quigley, Casimir relates in his Polish theatrical way, the story of how he returned to his new home after visiting his family abroad …

“I have great trouble to find this house in the dark. Finally I find it and I  knock and I knock but not a sound. I go around the back and I call out ‘Constance! After a while a window goes up and a dirty little ragamuffin puts out his head and say, ‘Who da?..’I say I am Count Markievicz and I want to see Constance Markievicz.” I hear much scuffling and running and a voice saying ‘there is some big fella out there who says he is your husband, at last the door opens.  In 1924 Casimir wrote a series of essays in the Polish Press depicting scenes like this, entitled Letters from Ireland. He called the boys ‘Sprouts’ for they popped up everywhere, under beds, under chairs and, out of cupboards consuming all the rashers and eggs, smoking his tobacco and drinking his whiskey. One night he stayed up late to confront the ghost to find the maid had been keeping an unofficial boarder, a milkman who was also an army deserter.

To read more Irish history Subscribe on the home page or go here for 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Irish History, a guide for Anyone Irish.

 

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