COUNTESS MARKIEVICZ. IRISH REVOLUTIONARY.
Irish revolutionary and activist, Countess Constance Gore-Booth Markievicz fought in the 1916 Rebellion with Pearse and Connolly and was second-in-command to Michael Mallin -and became the very first woman elected to the British Parliament as a Sinn Fein candidate. She spent almost her entire later life and fortune helping and working with the poorest of the poor in Dublin. She was a legend in working class Dublin, renowned for her kindness and generosity -and often paid the rent of poor families to prevent their eviction.
Markievicz was always a hero of mine; my own mother, who had very loyalist and royalist tendencies, adored her too despite her attachment to the rebels and her revolutionary zeal and always referred to her as ‘Madam’ or ‘The Countess’.
Excerpts from the Wiki:
Constance Georgine Markievicz, Countess Markievicz (Polish: Markiewicz; née Gore-Booth; 4 February 1868 – 15 July 1927) was an Irish Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil politician, revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist. In December 1918, she was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, though she did not take her seat and, along with the other Sinn Féin TDs, formed the first Dáil Éireann. She was also one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position (Minister for Labour of the Irish Republic, 1919–1922).
During the Rising she supervised the setting-up of barricades as the Rising began and was in the middle of the fighting all around Stephen’s Green, wounding a British army sniper. Trenches were dug in the Green, sheltered by the front gate; however, after British machine gun and rifle fire from the rooftops of tall buildings on the north side of the Green including the Shelbourne Hotel, the Citizen Army troops withdrew to the Royal College of Surgeons on the west side of the Green.
Mallin and Poole and their men and women, inclusive of Markievicz, held out for six days, ending the engagement when the British brought them a copy of Pearse’s surrender order
At her court martial on 4 May 1916, Markievicz pleaded not guilty to “taking part in an armed rebellion…for the purpose of assisting the enemy,” but proudly pleaded guilty to having attempted “to cause disaffection among the civil population of His Majesty” and she told the court, “I did what I thought was right and I stand by it.” She was sentenced to death, but General Maxwell commuted this to life in prison on “account of the prisoner’s sex”. It was widely reported that she told the court, “I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me”.
Markievicz died at the age of 59 on 15 July 1927, of complications related to appendicitis. She had given away the last of her wealth, and died in a public ward “among the poor where she wanted to be”.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE EASTER RISING:
In 1916, in a rebellion known as the Easter Rising, a small group of uniformed and organized but poorly armed Irish patriots took on the might of the British Empire and sought to end 800 years of subjugation and oppression. Although totally outnumbered, for twelve extraordinary days in May 1916, they fought the British army to a standstill until finally forced to surrender as prisoners of war. Most were promptly executed without mercy and with their executions the Irish people, who initially had rejected them as hopeless dreamers and troublemakers, were so outraged by these brutal murders that they rose in huge numbers against the British and eventually succeeded, after years of armed struggle and massive help from the Irish diaspora in America, in ejecting the British and declaring independence.