- 10 Jun 21
The podcast series, curated 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 for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, has announced a new 'Mná 100' podcast series as part of the Decade of Centenaries programme.
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. The first episode of 'Mná 100' uses the documents and items held in our National Cultural Institutions to tell the stories about the eight women who were elected in 1921 to these parliaments.
Two elections took place - one for the second Dáil Éireann on May 13th, where six women were returned unopposed. The six women elected were Countess Markievicz, who was joined in Dáil Éireann by Kathleen Clarke (widow of Tom Clarke), Dr. Ada English (Cumann na mBan, Galway), Cork's Mary MacSwiney - 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 Limerick Lord Mayor and one of three men shot on in March 1921) and Margaret Pearse - the mother of Padraig and Willie Pearse, who were both 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.
Every episode is told like a journey. In each location, items are selected that help our understanding who these women were – both politically and personally.
"I was moved by some of the touching and poignant moments," Minister Martin said of the Mná 100 podcast.
"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."
Those featured in the podcast include: 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 for the 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.
Mná 100 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.
Listen to the first episode below, featuring Dr Lucy Clark and Dawn Bradfield: