The University of Wisconsin Press

History / Women's Studies / Irish Studies


No Ordinary Women
Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years 1900–1923
Sinéad McCoole
With historical introduction by Margaret Ward

Spies, snipers, couriers, gun-runners, medics

Women in the fight for Ireland's independence risked loss of life and family for their cause. Here are the biographies of sixty-five women activists, along with lists of those imprisoned after the 1916 Rising and the more than seven hundred women arrested during the Irish Civil War. They came from every class in society-titled ladies, shop assistants, doctors, housewives, laundry workers, artists, and teachers. Some were married with children, others widowed, and some were mere schoolgirls.

Using historical records, interviews with survivors and their families, and the women's own prison diaries, memorabilia, and writings, Sinéad McCoole vividly recreates the characters, personalities, and courage of these extraordinary women, many of whom served time in Ireland's most notorious prison, Kilmainham Gaol.

" McCoole proved 72 extraordinary biographical sketches of these patriotic women, both famous and unknown, in this absorbing and exciting look at a little-investigated part of Irish history." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, February 9, 2004, New York, NY

Sinéad McCoole is the author Hazel and Guns and Chiffon: Women Revolutionaries and Kilmainham Gaol. She has scripted a series of short films and curated historical and art exhibitions for Dúchas, (Ireland's heritage service) and for Dublin's Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. She lives in Dublin and works as a researcher and lecturer at the Kilmainham Gaol Museum.

Copublished with the O'Brien Press, Dublin

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October 2003
288 pp. 6 x 9
100 photographs: 70-80 colour; 20-30 black and white

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ISBN 978-0-299-19500-7
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