2021 is the 110th anniversary of International Women’s Day (web). In 1911 it was observed on March 19th, but since 1914 it has been held annually on March 8th. Free Derry Corner (Visual History) was changed to mark the occasion. In the background Bernadette Devlin is seen “inciting a riot” during the Battle Of The Bogside – as the charges against her read; she served six months.
Students Coláiste Feirste, from Bechmount, west Belfast (tw), and Ashfield Girls’ High School, from Sydenham, east Belfast (tw) were involved in the exhibition Idir Dhá Aigne in Cultúrlann in 2014 and the two schools again combined their artistic talents to produce these five collages of inspirational women: Katie Taylor and Noelle Ryan (by students from Coláiste Feirste), and the Brontë sisters, Ellen Degeneres, and Rosa Parks (by students from Ashfield Girls’).
Inspirational female figures inside Coláiste Feirste: Marie Curie – Duais Nobel, Emmeline Pankhurst – “Vótaí do mhnaí” [votes for women], Alice Ní Mhaolagáin [Milligan], Mary Anne Nic Reachtain [McCracken], Mairéad Ní Fhearail [Farrell], Bernadette Ní Dhoibhilin [Devlin], Angela Davis, Rosa Parks – “Shuigh sí le go dtiocfadh linn seasamh” [She sat so that we would stand], Méabh – Banríon Chonnacht [queen of Connacht], Gráinne Mhaol [Grace O’Malley], Marina Ginestà, Winifred Ní Chearnaigh [Carney], Mary Mhic Giolla Íosa [McAleese] – Uachtarán na hÉireann [President of Ireland], mná Bhóthar Seoighe [women of Shaw’s Road] – scoil Ghaeilge Bhéal Feirste. Dalta Choláiste Feirste – An tusa an chéad laoch eile? [Pupil of Coláiste Feirste, are you the next hero?]
“Countess Markievicz – first woman to be a member of the 1st Dáil and the 1st woman in the world to hold a cabinet position as minister for labour 1919-1922.” Markievicz is shown here in civilian garb with a Cumann na mBan pin – compare with the previous mural celebrating the centenary of CnamB. The first Dáil Éireann met in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin (residence of the Lord Mayor) on January 21st, 1919. 35 Sinn Féin deputies – including Markievicz – were absent because they were “fé ghlas ag Gallaibh” (“imprisoned by foreigners”) and four more “ar díbirt ag Gallaibh” (deported by foreigners); Unionist members including Edward Carson did not attend (The Irish Story). Among its business was the adoption of a Declaration Of Irish Independence (title page shown on the right).
The photograph reproduced is of the crowd awaiting news of a truce in the War Of Independence in July 1921 (WP).
“The English may batter us to pieces, but they will never succeed in breaking our spirit – Maud Gonne.” The lesser-known figures here are Helena Moloney [Molony] and Margaret Skinnider. Both participated in the 1916 Rising. Actress Molony took part in the failed attack on Dublin Castle and, although ultimately captured, was not executed (Stories | WP). Scotland-born Skinnider was a sniper in the Easter Rising; she was shot three times but survived to flee to the USA where should would write a 1917 account of the Rising before returning to Ireland and a career in teaching (WP).
Two panels commemorate the Battle Of Messines in 1917 and the role of nurses in attending to the wounded. This NIHE article says that the two nurses depicted are Annie Colhoun from London-/Derry and Margaret Dewar from Glasgow. “Margaret Dewar lost her life during the battle whilst Annie Colhoun survived and was decorated for her work during the war by the French, Serbians and British Governments.” (This presumably makes her the nurse in the right-hand panel.) An Army Nursing Service page says, however, that they were nurses at Monastir in Macedonia.
“Sub cruce candida” (“under a white cross”) is the motto of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, though at the time of WWI it was Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. “VAD” stands for “voluntary aid detachment” of the British Red Cross.
The soldiers wear red hands or shamrocks on their arms. The red hand is for the 36th (Ulster) Division and the cap badge in the left panel is of the 36th. The shamrock is the symbol of the 16th (Irish) Division, and the right panel shows the cap badge of the Connaught Rangers whose battalions served in both the 10th (Irish) and 16th (Irish) Divisions in WWI. Both the 36th and 16th fought at the Somme and at Messines (WP).
This mural (perhaps still in progress) is in the Connswater Women’s Group (“CWG” in the mural) spot on Severn Road, showing the sun rising over the Harland & Wolff cranes in east Belfast. For the previous mural, see The Verticality Of The Divine.
Ériu/Éire of the Tuatha Dé Danann, queen of Ireland, is at the centre of various representations of republican women. Along the top are Ann Devlin, Betsy Gray, Mary Ann McCracken, Countess Markievicz, Nora Connolly?, and Winifred Carney. Suffragettes, the modern IRA, and Cumman na mBan are depicted, as are Máire Drumm at the Falls Curfew, Tom McElwee’s sisters carrying his coffin, and Molly Childers and Mary Spring Rice running guns on the Asgard. There is also an unusual ‘four provinces’ in the corners.
The wide shot (below) shows the James Connolly mural below and the (recently added) 1916 centenary board – for which see Ag fíorú na poblachta.
A succession of Irish rebels is shown in this new mural in Andersonstown, west Belfast. It begins (top left) with the rebellion of 1798 and then to the Easter Rising of 1916 at the GPO in Dublin. In the lower left, a pious Padraig Pearse awaits his execution with rosary beads in hand. There are then shown female figures from Cumann na mBán and the IRA (see previously: United Irishwomen, Do You Care? and Mothering Sunday In Beechmount), and then Mairéad Farrell in Armagh Women’s Prison (for the original, see Prison Walls). In the bottom right corner there is a blanketman. The busts of Bobby Sands and Joe McDonnell float above the GPO and the last verse of Sands’s The Rhythm Of Timeform the epigraph: “It lights the dark of this prison cell, it thunders forth its might, it is the undauntable thought, my friend, the thought that says, “I’m right”.