Countess Markievicz Exhibition opens
A new display at the National Gallery of Ireland is set to shine light on the life of one of the most famous women in our country’s history – Countess Markievicz.
The Sligo native’s role in the struggle for Irish independence made her a very important and influential woman and, as this year marks the 100th anniversary of her election to the British Parliament, the National Gallery wants to share her achievements with all.
Donal Maguire, curator of the new exhibition, says, ‘Countess Markievicz is of undeniable and widely recognised cultural and political significance, given her role in the history of modern Ireland, but retains an air of intrigue today.’
This suggests that while many of us may know of her public life, we may not know too much about her personal life. Now, thanks to the new exhibition, we can travel 100 years back in time and find out more about one of our country’s greatest figures.
An amazing leader
- Countess Markievicz became the first Irish woman to get elected to the British House of Commons. And, even though she refused to take her seat (she believed Ireland should not be part of the UK), this historical moment made her the second woman in the history of the world to be democratically elected. She later served as Minister for Labour in the ﬁrst Dáil.
- During the 1913 Dublin Lockout, Countess Markievicz worked tirelessly to provide food for the workers’ families. Two years later, she helped organise and train the Irish Citizen Army.
- During the Rising, Markievicz was second-in-command at St. Stephen’s Green/College of Surgeons. Afterwards, she was the only woman to be court-martialed (tried in a military court). The verdict reached was: ‘Guilty, death by being shot’. However, the sentence was changed to life imprisonment, as the government didn’t want to anger people by executing a woman.