'The revolutionary women of 1916'
Irish history has traditionally not been kind in recognising the role that its heroic women played in the struggle for freedom during the revolutionary period. The women who were involved in the 1916 Easter Rising, and the wider independence era, were pioneers for equality of the sexes, and even more so for equality amongst all people in Ireland. The agenda set forth in the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, which guaranteed the equal treatment of women and men, was unfortunately never fully realised after Ireland gained its independence. Regrettably, this aim of the revolution was not to pass, and Ireland took huge steps backwards with regards equality for the sexes as it moved towards independence.
'The Nicest Girl in Dublin' - Lucy Agnes Smyth was a member of Cumann na mBan from it's inception in 1914 until 1921. During the 1916 Rising, she was a member of the first aid detachment stationed at the GPO and Hibernian Bank.
The Irish Citizen Army took the most progressive stance towards equality during the Rising, with women being entitled to become full members and subsequently took part in some of the fiercest fighting during Easter Week 1916. Also, the members of Cumann na mBan (the female equivalent to the Irish Volunteers) experienced the horror and violence of warfare as they attempted to move about the city as dispatch riders and first aid responders. Despite their incredible actions during the Easter Rising and later the War of Independence, the Irish state failed to fully recognise the role that these women played until many years later. Often their state pensions were refused and they were left embittered by the republic that they had helped form. In the lead up to the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016, these brave women are finally being recognised for the huge role that they played in gaining Irish independence.
Click on the images below to hear the stories of these incredible women