Constance and Irish Freedom

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Constance joins Sinn Fein

While living in Dublin, Constance and Casimir mixed with the writers and artists who were deeply involved in the Gaelic League and the Celtic Revival. Among them were W.B. Yeats, AE and Lady Gregory. Casimir became a successful portrait painter. Constance began to get involved in acting.

It was through some friends in the theatre that Constance met Arthur Griffith, who opened her eyes to the Nationalist cause. She joined the nationalist party, Sinn Fein, in 1908 and from that moment onwards the fight for Irish freedom became her passion. In 1909, she established a Nationalist boy scout movement named 'Fianna Eireann' (which means Soldiers of Ireland).

Constance's family life suffered and she lost almost all contact with her husband and also with her daughter Maeve, who was brought up in Lissadell by Constance's mother.

The Dublin Lockout

Constance became aware of the great gap between the rich and the poor when she met Jim Larkin and James Connolly, who were actively working to get more rights for workers in Dublin. During the large workers' strike, called the Dublin Lockout of 1913 - 14

The Dublin Lock Out

A picture of the Dublin Metropolitan Police charging through the strike accompanied with batons. This is also known as 'Bloody Sunday 1913'.

Copyright RTÉ Stills Library

 , Constance saw the terrible hardship of life for the striking workers whose families were hungry.
Constance in Uniform
Courtesy of

She set up and ran a soup kitchen in Liberty Hall for the families of those out of work. During the strike, the Irish Congress of Trades Unions set up the Citizen Army. This was to protect the workers who were often baton-charged and beaten by police. Constance became a member of the Irish Citizen Army and was made a staff-lieutenant by its leader James Connolly.


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