2 April 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Cumann na mBan, the “Women’s Association” of the Irish Volunteers; who took on the British Empire to win self-determination for Ireland, during the War of Independence, 1919 – 1921.
Michael Collins was noted for his close working relationships with some of the most valiant and remarkable women of the War of Independence. They played a prominent role in his intelligence corps. Ireland owed much of her success in that war to their unique capacities to infiltrate and operate unnoticed behind enemy lines, on highly sensitive, dangerous missions.
Yet, in the split over the Treaty, which led to his death, Collins found himself surprisingly at odds with Cumann an mBan. As discussed in this excerpt from “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal an mBláth?“:
“During this epoch-making period for women, their full participation in politics was still quite controversial. In Europe and the US, women’s right to vote was then still at issue, or only recently won. . . . There was an onus upon them never to be seen to lag behind, never to appear “soft” on hot topics. Thus the women took the “hard” line: Cumann na mBan “practically unanimously” opposed the Treaty.”
“The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?“
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
Read more about Cumann na mBan:
“Revolutionary Woman” the autobiography of Kathleen Clarke:
“No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years 1900 – 1923” by Sinead McCoole