• October 22, 2023

Two books about Irish revolutionaries women is too much to purchase on the one day even for me so I lean on my daughter (Angela) to

put it in ‘Santa’s stocking’ for me – she obliges.

Máire Comerford was described by journalist John Healy as “the grand old dame of Republicanism”, in his obituary following her death in December 1982, at the age of 89.

Comerford was a committed republican during the Easter rising and through the war of independence and maintained her support for Cumann na mBan until her death in 1982. She came from a well to do Irish family and her background (grandfather a Deputy Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary) should have pointed her in other directions, However she was a fervent republican and like many others who fought in the war of independence opposed the Treaty and the compromises thereafter. In the 1920s she worked for Sinn Fein and in the 1970s she supported Provisional Sinn Fein. She died in 1982 before the split which created Republican Sinn Fein but on track record I think she would have gone with the latter.

In the 1920s she worked with the Irish White Cross, a support group. After the Free State forces attacked the Four Courts in 1922 she escaped but eventually was imprisoned spending 4 months in Mountjoy Jail in 1923.

Her book ‘On Dangerous Ground, a Memoir of the Irish Revolution’ covers the period of the War of Independence and Civil War

Comerford worked as a journalist until her retirement in the 1960s. She never married.

Image: A calm start to a turbulent life – Maire Comerford as a childin 1901 – Inset: Photo from a (false) passport she used during the Civil War 1923.

Bernard Moffatt

AGS Celtic League (22nd October 2023)

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