• January 19, 2020

One hundred and twenty years ago in 1900 the Irish radical nationalist womens organisation Inghinidhe na hÉireann was founded by Maud Gonne

The Inghinidhe’s objects were defined as follows:

The re-establishment of the complete independence of Ireland

To encourage the study of Gaelic of Irish literature, history, music and art, especially among the young, by the organising and teaching of classes for the above subjects.

To support and popularise Irish manufactures.

To discourage the reading and circulation of low English literature, the singing of English songs, the attending of vulgar English entertainments at theatres and music halls, and to combat in every way English influence, which is doing so much injury to the artistic taste and refinement of the Irish people.

To form a fund called the National Purposes Fund for the furtherance of the above objects.

They sponsored classes and entertainment for children and adults, and protested at the British army recruitment centre in Dublin.

The Inghinidhe performed tableaux vivants on themes from Irish mythology and world history] It also produced Irish plays with male actors recruited from other nationalist groups.

In 1908, the Inghinidhe launched a monthly magazine, Bean na hÉireann, which was edited by Helena Molony. Among the contributors were PH Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Sidney Gifford (under her nom de plume John Brennan), Maud Gonne, Constance Markievicz, who wrote the gardening column and Molony herself who wrote the Labour Notes. There were articles on politics, the vote for women, nationalism, language – and regular columns on labour issues, fashion (stressing Irish-made clothes), gardening, articles in Irish in the cló Ghaelach (as Irish was always then written and printed), a children’s section with competitions, etc. It was popular with both men and women.

In 1914 the organisation was wound up with members either merging with Cumann na mBann or Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army.



Image: Maud Gonne in 1901

Bernard Moffatt Assistant General Secretary Celtic League (19 January 2020)

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