Guns and Chiffon

Published in 20th Century Social Perspectives, Issue 2 (Summer 1997), News, Revolutionary Period 1912-23, Volume 5

Until recently, few women were given prominence in the long list of Kilmainham Gaol’s political prisoners. However, after the 1916 Rising seventy-seven women were held prisoner in Kilmainham for their part in the rebellion, and at the height of the Civil War in 1923 over three-hundred women, aged between twelve and seventy, were imprisoned there.
A temporary exhibition this summer at Kilmainham Gaol sets out to tell the story not only of such renowned figures as Countess Markievicz and Maud Gonne MacBride, but also of the many rank-and-file members of women’s organisations like Inghinidhe na hÉireann and Cumann na mBan. Items on display, many from private collections, include Maud Gonne MacBride’s presentation dress, portraits of Countess Markievicz, Grace Gifford Plunkett and Dr Kathleen Lynn and a Cumann na mBan tricolour made by women prisoners in the gaol during the Civil War.
The exhibition is organised in conjunction with the launch of Sinead McCoole’s book Guns and Chiffon: Women Revolutionaries in Kilmainham and will run from the end of May until the end of August 1997.


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