Richmond Barracks 1916
“We were there” – 77 women of the Easter Rising
Mary McAuliffe & Liz Gillis
‘Not the least of the betrayals following the 1916 Rising was the way in which the women who took part in it were subsequently written out of the chronicles. This book goes a long way towards righting the balance and remedying an historic injustice.’ – John Banville
‘The “77 Women” of Richmond Barracks, their stories now painstakingly uncovered, is an important addition to our knowledge of the history of the women of 1916. It also stands as a testimony to the power – and joy – of collaborative working.’ – Dr Margaret Ward
It is now generally acknowledged that women played a vital role in the Irish revolutionary movement in the years 1913–23, including the Easter Rising. Women of the Irish Citizen Army, Cumman na mBan, the Clan na nGaedheal Girl Scouts and individual women fought side by side with their male counterparts in most of the Rising outposts in Dublin, Enniscorthy and Galway during Easter week 1916. After the surrender, seventy-seven of these women were arrested along with their male colleagues and taken to Richmond Barracks in Inchicore, Dublin. It is these seventy-seven, representing a cross section of Irish society in a pivotal time in Irish history, whose histories, activism and legacies form the nucleus of this book.
Richmond Barracks 1916: We Were There – 77 women of the Easter Rising enriches our knowledge of the revolutionary period by telling the history of the 1916 Rising from a more nuanced and balanced perspective, through the lens of these women’s lives and contribution. Containing detailed biographies of the seventy-seven women, this book reveals their background, family, education, class, politicisation and motivation to take part in the 1916 Rising as well as looking at their lives post-Rising and post-Independence. Accompanied by chapters on the fighting of Easter week in each garrison, narrated from the point of view of the women’s involvement, the commitment and depth of the contribution of women to the Rising is rediscovered.
This new research and analysis of the women in the 1916 Rising is a welcome addition to the historiography of the period and gives voice to the forgotten Easter Rising women.
Mary McAuliffe holds a PhD from the School of History & Humanities, Trinity College Dublin and lectures on Women's Studies at University College Dublin. She is past President of the Women's History Association of Ireland (WHAI). Liz Gillis is from the Liberties in Dublin and is a curatorial assistant for RTÉ, specifically researching the 1916 Rising. She has written four books about the Irish Revolution and has worked as a researcher on numerous publications on the period.