Guns aboard the boat that started it all, the Asgard!
In June of 1914, 900 guns, specifically Mauser riffles and 29,000 rounds of ammunition were purchased from Germany and shipped to Ireland. The guns were supposed to be used to protect Home Rule but in 1916 they would be used for an all-out rebellion against England. Several women were at the heart of this mission: Alice Stopford Green, Molly Childers, (wife of Erskine Childers who also was involved) and Mary Spring Rice.
Mary Spring Rice as a child
Mary Spring Rice grew up in a wealthy Anglo-Irish household whose compassion and free-thinking atmosphere encouraged independent thinking and a love for Irish culture. The family spoke Irish fluently. When she was selling Irish lace in London she met Erskine and Molly Childers, Alice Stopford Green and eventually Roger Casement who were part of an Anglo Irish Committee. Motivated by the Ulster Volunteers ability to smuggle guns into Larne and march all over Belfast, the group was determined to find a way to arm the Irish Volunteers as well. But how?
Tale of the Great Sham and The Land League of Ireland
By Liam Brennan
The height of the Land War (1879-1882) saw the founding of the Ladies Land League in Ireland. The League was the forerunner for other organizations such as Inghinidhe na hEireann and Cumann na mBan. Anna Parnell, one of the Anglo-Irish protestant elite, was their leader. Anna’s League was not just for fund-raising or a stand-in until the men of the Land League returned from prison. It was Anna who showed women how to fight for what they believed in. Both the Men’s and the Ladies Land League supported withholding rent from landlords and boycotting but more importantly the ladies helped support evicted tenants and oversaw the building of new shelters . For a considerable time the Anna Parnell never received the credit she deserved, second to her more famous brother, Charles Stewart Parnell.