Countess Constance Markievicz
Countess Markievicz is renowned as the leading woman of the Easter Rising. Inspired by the poet W.B. Yeats, she became interested in Irish nationalism and worked closely with James Connolly prior to joining the Irish Citizen Army.
During the Rising, Markievicz was appointed second in command to Michael Mallin at St. Stephen’s Green. Afterwards she was condemned to death for her role in the Rising, but her sentence was changed to life in prison on account of her sex. She was released under a general amnesty in 1917.
Following the general election of 1918, Markievicz became the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, but she did not take her seat. She was a member of Sinn Féin and all the party’s elected members refused to attend parliament in London. Instead they formed a parliament in Dublin, the first Dáil (meaning assembly).
From 1919-1922 Markievicz served as the Minister for Labour in the Irish Republic, at a time when nations everywhere were still campaigning for women’s right to vote. Opposing the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Markievicz left government in January 1922 along with Éamon de Valera, the president of Dáil Éireann. After this, she toured America to drum up support for the Republicans before joining the new Fianna Fáil party on its foundation in 1926.
In 1927, she was elected to the Irish parliament but died the following year. She is honoured with a bronze bust in St. Stephen’s Green and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.