Gone but not Forgotten; Local women of the last century who made history

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 4 (Jul/Aug 2005), News, News, Volume 13

Gone but not forgotten tells the story of the people who fought for Irish independence from the area of south Dublin, which today is known as Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown. The women profiled here were judges, educators, writers, social activists, freedom fighters, spies, county council officials and politicians. James Connolly’s youngest daughter, Fiona, featured in the exhibition, wrote in old age: ‘A young child’s memories reviewed from maturity seem to me to be a series of photographs’. This panel-based exhibition tries to capture that idea with a selection of photographs and related images complementing the human story of Irish history in those dramatic days of the first quarter of the twentieth century.
Curated by noted historian Sinéad McCoole for Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown libraries, Gone but not forgotten yields important new information and photographs from private collections. Local stories are told here, such as the tragic tale of one day in June 1890, when a nine-year-old girl witnessed the death of her mother and all her siblings—Annie, aged thirteen, Eily, aged ten, Kathleen, aged seven, and Norah, just five years old. They had been poisoned, and she was too young to save them. In later life, as Moya Llewelyn Davies, she was one of Michael Collins’s most trusted spies.
Taking women who lived in what is now Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown and others who were buried in Deansgrange cemetery, this exhibition sets out to tell their stories and to assess their role in the history of their time. Kathleen Clarke, Áine Ceannt, Gretta Coffey, Dr Kathleen Lynn and Mary Coyle Andrews—some names are well known, others are not. You may know that Mary Coyle Andrews was the mother of the politicians David and Niall and grandmother of Ryan Tubridy, but did you know that it was Mary who introduced her children to politics? Did you know that Dr Kathleen Lynn was officer commanding in City Hall in 1916 and that the British did not know whether their rulebook allowed them to accept surrender from a woman? Did you know that Kathleen Clarke was Dublin’s first female lord mayor? Included also are the stories of the rank and file—21 young women, some just teenagers, who were imprisoned during the Civil War. Their details provide new sources for both scholars and local historians alike.
Enquiries: Sinéad McCoole, 087-2492643, sineadmccoole@eircom.net, www.dlrcoco.ie/library.

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