22 August, 2018 //

Mnà na hÉireann

As Part of The Redline Book Festival 

11am – 12pm – Joe Duffy – Children of the Rising

Joe is one of Ireland’s best-known presenters, hosting both Liveline on Radio and Liveline Callback and Spirit Level on TV. He is the author of the best-selling 2015 book, Children of the Rising. Released in October 2015, the book topped the Nielsen Bookscan Hardback Nonfiction chart for several weeks. Children of the Rising is the untold story of the young lives lost during Easter 1916. 40 children, aged 16 and under, were among the 300 civilians killed in the 1916 crossfire. Joe Duffy spent three years researching the lives of the children for a book and TV documentary. He describes the book as full of “uncomfortable truths”, containing “a completely new part of the story of 1916 that has simply never been told before”. Using family sources, newspaper reports, census returns, compensation claims, and birth and death certificates the list of the dead children is a glimpse into the lives of both poor and rich, living side by side in a cramped, crowded city. One boy, known only as ‘Male’ O’Toole, was thought to have lived hand to mouth at a workhouse for many years. The vast majority of the children died from gunshot wounds, according to their death certificates. One died from “cannonaading”. There were no inquests. With the exception of some notorious atrocities like the North King street massacre, and a few events where the Rebels admitted the death of civilians, it is not possible to say which side’s bullets killed most of the children.

12mp – 1pm – Liz Gillis – 1918: The Year of Decisiveness

1918 was a turning point in Ireland. The Irish people united together to make a stand against the British government, none more so than the women of Ireland. Liz Gillis will discuss the events that helped change the course of Irish history and the women that took part in them.

2pm – 3pm – Dr. Kate O’ Malley – Women of the Irish Revolution – A Wider World

In the aftermath of the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution, the Irish struggle for independence was watched with interest by nationalists in other parts of the British Empire, most notably India. Indian nationalists such as Gandhi, Nehru and Bose took an interest in Ireland, and nationalists in Ireland took an interest in India. This lecture will look at three revolutionary women, all friends, all veterans of the post-1916 independence struggle: Maud Gonne MacBride, Charlotte Despard and Mollie Woods. These women encouraged Indo-Irish collaboration in the hope that each side could learn from their respective experiences. They were agitators who attempted to add an aspect of global Bnesse to local nationalist politics and successfully established their own tailor-made organisation in the shape of the Indian Irish Independence League. This lecture will shed light on some lesser known aspects of Irish and Indian history between the World Wars, and on the significance of the Irish revolution within the wider history of the British Empire.

3pm – 4PM Sinéad McCoole – Easter Widows

One week in May 1916, seven Irish women became widows. Some had married men of the establishment; one married a lecturer, two others married soldiers, another a civil servant. For the seven women whose stories are told in Easter Widows, their husbands’ interest in Irish culture, citizenship and rights became a fight for independence, then a military action. These men were among the 1916 leaders who formed a provisional government of the Irish Republic and issued a proclamation of Irish Independence. But the Rising was defeated, and the leaders were arrested and hastily executed. Some of the widows broke under the strain of their experiences, suffering miscarriage and tragedy. Yet for another of the women, the execution of her husband allowed her to return from self-imposed exile, freed from the fear that her son would be taken from her. This is also a story of women of power and success – some of the widows emerged from the shadows to become leaders themselves. It is a human story told against the backdrop of the years of conflict in Ireland 1916-1923 – the Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War.