Countess Markiewicz

Countess Markiewicz was born as Constance Gore-Booth in 1868 in London. Her father had an estate at Lissadell in the north of County Sligo, Ireland; the children grew up there and Constance and her sister Eva were childhood friends of WB Yeats whose artistic and political ideas were a strong influence on them. Constance went to study art at the Slade School of Art in London, she became politically active and joined the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

Countess Markiewicz, founder of Fianna eireann

She moved to Paris, marrying Count Kazimierz Dunin-Markiewicz, a Ukranian aristocrat. The couple settled in Dublin where Constance established herself as a landscape painter and helped found the United Artists Club. Socialising in artistic and literary circles, she met and became influenced by revolutionary patriots. In 1908 she joined Sinn Fein and the revolutionary women’s movement, Inghinidhe na hEireann; she also began to perform in plays at the Abbey Theatre.

In 1909, she founded Fianna-Eireann, an organisation that instructed boys in military tactics and the in the use of firearms. She joined James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army, designing their uniform and composing their anthem. During the 1916 Rising, she was second in command to Michael Mallin in St. Stephen’s Green. Under sniper fire from the surrounding buildings, including the Shelbourne Hotel, they retreated to the Royal College of Surgeons. When the leaders of the Rising surrendered, she was arrested, incarcerated in Kilmainham Gaol, she was sentenced to death but the sentence was later commuted to a life sentence.

Under the general amnesty she was released in 1917 and in 1918 she ran in the general election becoming the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, however in line with Sinn Fein policy, she refused to take her seat. She later served as Minister for Labour in the Irish cabinet becoming the first female cabinet minister in Europe. She left government in 1922, opposing the Anglo-Irish Treaty, fighting actively for the Republican cause during the Civil War. She again won election to government in the 1923 and 1927 general elections. She died in 1927 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland.

Article source: Russell Shortt,

Irish Medals For The 1916 Rising & Irish War of Independence

17 May 2006
The need for the Minister for Defence, in view of the great success of the recent Easter 1916 commemorations, to clarify the current arrangements for the replacement of 1916 and War of Independence medals; and if he has any proposals to review these arrangements this year.
Senator Diarmuid Wilson
I am glad to have the opportunity to address this matter and I thank Senator Wilson for raising it.
It is not necessary for me to dwell on the importance of the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence to the nation. Together they led to the establishment of the State in which we live today and to the freedom we now enjoy. The importance of these events is also reflected in the fact that we have five military medals related to that period of our history.
For the information of Senators, I will give some brief background to each of the five medals.
The 1916 Medal was awarded to persons who participated in The Rising during the week commencing 23rd April 1916. Some 2,000 of these Medals were awarded.
The Service (1917-1921) Medal with Bar was awarded to persons who rendered active military service during the War of Independence. There were over 15,000 Medals awarded in this class.
The Service (1917-1921) Medal without Bar was awarded to persons whose service was not deemed active military service, but who were members of Oglaigh na hÉireann, (Irish Republican Army), Fianna Éireann, Cumann na mBan or the Irish Citizen Army continuously for the three months which ended with the Anglo-Irish Truce of the 11th July, 1921. Over 50,000 Medals were awarded in this class.
The 1916 Survivors Medal was created in 1966 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rising of Easter Week 1916. The medal was issued to those who had been awarded the 1916 Medal and who were still alive at the time.
And lastly, the Truce (1921) Commemoration Medal was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Truce that ended the War of Independence. The medal was issued to Veterans of the War of Independence who were alive on the 11th July 1971 and who had been duly awarded the Service (1917-1921) Medal, whether with or without Bar.
The Department receives requests from time to time for the replacement of lost, stolen or destroyed Medals awarded to Veterans of the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence.
It has been settled policy of the Department of Defence for many, many years that replacement medals were issued on a once only basis on receipt of a bona-fidé request from the Veteran to whom the original medals were awarded. This policy was adopted in the interests of preserving the intrinsic value of the medals and to strictly limit the number of medals issued in any particular case. Although almost all of the Veterans are now deceased, the rationale for restricting the issue of replacement medals is still valid.
Apart from the intrinsic value of the medals, their monetary value on the open market is also a factor. Some indication of their value can be gleaned from the recent sale by auction of a posthumously awarded 1916 Medal that achieved a price of €105,000 on 12 April, 2006. Other 1916 and War of Independence medals, sold at the same auction, fetched amounts ranging from €3,200 to €14,000.
While this has been the long-standing Departmental policy, I can totally understand the feelings of the family members of Veterans whose requests for replacement Medals are refused.
These families feel rightfully proud of their ancestors’ service and contribution to the birth of this State and would like some visible expression of it. With this in mind: some weeks ago I initiated an examination in my Department of the possibility of issuing some form of official certificate for such cases.
I would envisage that the certificates would confirm that one of the medals in question had been issued to the named Veteran. If more than one medal had originally been issued, a separate certificate could be provided for each medal.
Officials in my Department are currently examining a number of options, including possible designs and formats for these certificates. I am confident that this initiative will go some way to addressing this problem and I expect that the examination in my Department will be completed very shortly.
On a related note, I was very pleased to be able to announce recently a substantial increase in the War of Independence pensions. I felt that the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising was an appropriate time to show the country’s appreciation of the major part played by Veterans in the foundation of the State. The pensions are being increased by 50% retrospectively to the 1st April 2006. They were last increased in mid-2004 when a 50% increase was also applied.
I trust that I have clarified matters to the satisfaction of the House.
The above makes interesting reading , the figures are estimates and cannot be taken as exact, please see some photos below of the medals mentioned.

Black & Tan Medal without Comrac Bar
Blach & Tan Medal with Comrac Bar, also know as The Service Medal

IRA Truce Medal , 1921-1971

1916 Rising Survivors medal, The 1916 Survivors Medal was created in 1966 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rising of Easter Week 1916. The medal was issued to those who had been awarded the 1916 Medal and who were still alive at the time.

There are other badges and medals , official and unofficial that commemorate the Irish war of Independence , we will cover them in a later article.

IRA Volunteer Captain Dan McNamara cork no.1 brigade . bat A coy

We have been contacted by Dan McNamara , grandson of IRA Volunteer  Dan McNamara  cork no.1 brigade . 9th bat  A coy. Dan is looking for any information on his grandfather , if anybody has any relevant information please post a reply on this post section.

Dan has been good enough to send us pages from Dan McNamara ‘s  Diary , it makes for highly interesting reading. Thanks Dan.