Minister Catherine Martin announces a new Mná 100 Podcast
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D. announced a new podcast series, as part of the Decade of Centenaries programme, which reflects on some of the women who were instrumental in shaping Ireland’s history 100 years ago.
Minister Martin said:
“I am delighted to launch this new podcast series as part of the Mná 100 strand of the Decade of Centenaries programme.
Our first episode uses the documents and items held in our National Cultural Institutions to tell the stories about the eight women who were elected in 1921. I was moved by some of the touching and poignant moments. One that comes to mind is that of Brenda Malone, Curator of Military History in the National Museum of
Ireland, Collins Barracks, discussing the contents of Tom Clarke’s pockets that Kathleen Clarke donated to the National Museum. She states ‘It’s a very emotional thing to hold these things, to have some kind of inclination of how it must have felt for Kathleen to have lost her husband and how all she has now, in his place, is a book
of stamps, a pencil and an empty glasses case.’ I highly encourage everyone to listen to this beautifully woven podcast of these interesting and pioneering women.”
In this first episode, we delve into the lives of the eight women elected in 1921. In December 1920, the Government of Ireland Act was passed through Westminster, which set up two separate parliaments in Ireland, one in Belfast and one in Dublin. Two elections took place, one for the 2nd Dáil Éireann on 13th May where six women were returned unopposed. The six women elected were Constance de Markievicz, who was joined in Dáil Éireann by Kathleen Clarke (best known as the widow of Tom Clarke), Dr. Ada English (Cumann na mBan, Galway), Mary MacSwiney (Cork, sister
of the Lord Mayor of Cork Terence MacSwiney who died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison), Kathleen O’Callaghan (widow of Cllr Michael O’Callaghan, former Lord Mayor of Limerick one of three men shot on in March 1921, an event which became known as the Curfew Murders) and Margaret Pearse (mother of PH and Willie
Pearse executed in 1916).
The Northern Parliament held by Belfast City Hall had its first session on the 7th of June. Two women were returned for the Unionist party in the Northern Ireland parliament, Julia McMordie née Gray, CBE Vice President of the Ulster Women’s Unionist Council, and Dehra S. Chichester née Kerr Fisher (Later Dame Dehra Parker) OBE who was also a key member of Ulster Women’s Unionist Council. The podcast builds the stories of these women from the documents and artefacts held in the National Cultural Institutions: National Museum of Ireland, National Archives of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland, as well as the National Museums of Northern Ireland. It is told like a journey and in each location, items are selected that help our understanding who these women were – both politically and
Those featured in the podcast are Katherine McSharry, Deputy Director and Head of Development at the National Library; Brenda Malone, Curator of Military History, Arms and Armour, Flags and Banner, Transport and Contemporary Ireland Collections, National Museum of Ireland; Helen Beaumont, Education and Outreach Officer, National Museum of Ireland; Elizabeth McEvoy, Archivist with responsibility for Education and Outreach at the National Archives of Ireland and Niamh Baker, Curator of Making the Future Project at National Museums, Northern Ireland. The
Making the Future Project is funded through Peace IV through the Special EU Programmes Body. It is in partnership with the National Museums in Northern Ireland and the Nerve Centre and has been running since 2018.
www.mna100.ie is a new online women’s initiative, for the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries Programme and continues the work in highlighting the role of women in the revolutionary period.