Countess Markievicz's Role in the 1916 Rising and Her Subsequent Imprisonment

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  • Topic: Easter Rising, Irish Republic, Dublin
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  • Published : May 20, 2013
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Constance Gore-Booth was born in 1868 into a land-owning family of the Protestant Ascendancy in Co. Sligo. During her life she became heavily involved in nationalist movements and is most renowned for the role she took in the 1916 Easter Rising, as the most prominent female leader. She was arrested and put on trial like the other leaders of the Rising, but, because of her sex, she avoided execution by firing squad. Instead she served a prison sentence in Britain, separated from the surviving leaders of the Rising and was released in 1917, to then pursue a career in politics. She died in 1927, a hero to the people of Ireland.

On Easter Monday, the 24th of April, 1916 the Volunteers took several positions around the city which included the GPO, the Four Courts, Boland’s Mills, Jacob’s Biscuit factory and the College of Surgeons. Countess Markievicz held the rank of Staff Lieutenant with Michael Mallin as her superior officer and was the only woman among the leaders of the Rising. During the morning of Easter Monday, Countess Markievicz drove to the City Hall with medical supplies, successfully loaded the supplies into the building and then drove on to St. Stephen’s Green, where she reported to Mallin. Wearing a Citizens Army tunic, she was placed in charge of the trench digging around the Green. Meanwhile, her comrades were taking their posts around the city, Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the Rising had begun.

Between one and two o’clock that day, a page boy claimed he saw Markievicz drive up in a car, blow a whistle and give orders to rebels to shepherd civilians out of the Green. Then he allegedly saw Markievicz take aim at the window of the University Club. Another witness saw Markievicz on Harcourt Street that day, watching British soldiers approach. The witness claimed that Markievicz “raised her rifle, took aim and fired” – (Anne Marreco, The Rebel Countess, Great...
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