30 Jun 2023 filed by editor - General, Human Rights, Interviews
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D. has launched the fifth episode in the Mná 100 podcast series, titled Captivity – Civil War, as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012-2023. This episode continues the story of women imprisoned, following the photo-essay ‘Inside Out’ which was first published by Mná100 in February, in partnership with the City of Dublin Education Unit and Training Board Education Centre at Mountjoy Prison. This podcast looks in more detail at the lives of those ‘suspect women’, who were arrested and imprisoned in 1922 and 1923.
The 5th episode in the Mná 100 podcast series includes:
Recordings heard for the first time of Tessie O’Connell, who was imprisoned from November 1922 until 1923 when she was just 21 years of age;
Reflections from Manchán Magan on the life of his grandmother, Sighle Humphreys ;
A new specially commissioned recording of the Foggy Dew, performed by Ailbhe Reddy;
·Voices of students from the History Class in Mountjoy Prison, reflecting on the experiences of the women imprisoned in 1923.
Observations from Dr Sinéad McCoole as she visits the cells where the women were held in Kilmainham Gaol.
Minister Martin said: “To hear Tessie O’Connell’s first-hand account of her time in prison is truly moving. The voices of so many have been lost, and their stories will never be told. Tessie recounted these traumatic events in her own words, with vivid recall in 1997 at the age of 97. In this episode, musician and songwriter Ailbhe Reddy, has recorded a beautiful version of ‘The Foggy Dew’, exclusively for the Mná100 podcast. The bringing together of contemporary voices, alongside recordings from the past, makes this very special.”
In this podcast, Dr Sinéad McCoole discusses the legacy of ‘suspect women’ imprisoned during the Irish Civil War, exploring their lives during imprisonment and what happened to them after they were released. Dr McCoole also reflects on the emerging Irish Free State. The voice of Tessie O’Connell is heard for the first time and her reflections on life in prison are moving and illuminating. Manchán Magan recalls his Grandmother Sighle Humphreys. He discusses how he and his brother have retold her story and how her life has shaped his own.
Also featured are the voices of Leaving Certificate students currently in Mountjoy Prison. Dr McCoole visits Kilmainham Gaol and describes the cells that some of the women were held in. Ailbhe Reddy has recorded a version of ‘The Foggy Dew’, which was sung by women imprisoned for the 7th Anniversary of the Easter Rising commemoration that was held in Kilmainham Gaol.
Tessie O’Connell: Born in 1900 in Caherdaniel, County Kerry, Tessie was one of the 11 children of John and Marianne O’Connell<http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Kerry/Caherdaniel/Ballycarnahan/102893/> (née O’Sullivan). Her sister, Kathleen, had worked for the Gaelic League, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and was in close contact with those preparing for the Rising in 1916. Kathleen had left for America in 1904 to train as a secretary and while there she joined Cumann na mBan. Kathleen influenced her younger sister, Tessie, on a visit home in 1915. In 1922, Tessie came to Dublin to live with Kathleen and got a job in Suffolk Street. Following the split over the Treaty, she was on the anti-treaty side. She was held in 1922 and 1923 in Mountjoy Jail, Kilmainham Gaol and the North Dublin Union. After her release, she returned to live in Kerry and then went to live in Chicago for a number of years, before returning to live in Dublin, where she remained for the rest of her life. She never married or had children.
Ailbhe Reddy: The Irish Alt-Folk singer songwriter released her debut EP in 2016. Her first album Personal History was released to critical acclaim in 2020. It was nominated for the Best Album at the Choice Music Awards. She released her sophomore album ‘Endless Affair’ this March including tours in the US, UK and Ireland. The Dublin native contributed to the Treaty Songs, which took place in the National Concert Hall in 2021, marking the historic ‘Treaty debates’ and was supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media as part of the Decade of Centenaries programme 2012-2023.
Manchán Magan: A writer and a documentary maker for TG4, RTÉ and the Travel Channel. He has written books on his travels in Africa, India and South America. He presents the RTE podcast The Almanac of Ireland and is the author of a number of books including the award-winning, best-selling 32 words for field, Gill Books, 2020.
Mná100 is an online women’s initiative, for the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries Programme and continues the work in highlighting the role of women in the revolutionary period. Visit www.mna100.ie<https://www.mna100.ie/> to learn more.
This is the fifth podcast in the series. Previous podcasts can be accessed at www.mna100.ie<http://www.mna100.ie>