Archive for December 9th, 2010

Ireland’s Renegade Women

9 December 2010

 Contributed by Marnie Hay

Searching for a Christmas gift for someone with an interest in Irish women’s history or the republican movement? Look no further than Ann Matthews’ Renegades: Irish Republican Women, 1900-1922 (Cork: Mercier Press, 2010). Priced at €19.99, this highly readable paperback would make a great stocking stuffer.

In Renegades, Matthews examines the role played by women in the political and social revolutions that occurred in Ireland in the early twentieth century. She sets the scene with a discussion of the foundation laid by Fenian women and the Ladies Land League before turning to the main event: the contributions made by women to the advanced nationalist / republican movement between 1900 and 1922. Matthews refuses to allow those notorious scene stealers Maud Gonne and Countess Constance de Markievicz to hog the limelight and instead illuminates the work of the many unknown or lesser known women who made the fight for Irish freedom possible. She covers the contributions of everyone from veteran political activist Jennie Wyse Power (1858-1941) to May McLoughlin, the 15-year-old Clan na Gael girl scout who served as a messenger during the 1916 Rising. In many ways Renegades builds on and revises Margaret Ward’s 1989 classic Unmanageable revolutionaries: women and Irish nationalism. Read more