Irish Historian Marilyn Madigan

I am proud and honored that in the Centennial Year of the Easter Rising that our Order will be honoring the Women of 1916. The 2015-2016 National Irish History Contest topic for both levels is “The Involvement of Women in the Easter Rising.” The Easter Rising was a very significant event in Irish History. In order for the students to research this topic and not interfere with their class courses, I am requesting that the History Contest be announced and publicized prior to the end of the school year. This would allow the students to prepare for the contest during their summer break. The Irish History Contest brochure has been updated and is on the website. On the Irish History page on our website, I have prepared online displays on Molly O’Reilly; Remember the Women of 1916, Women of the 1916 Garrison Assignments and Women Who Answered the Call 1916.


On April 24, 2015, the 99th Anniversary of the Easter Rising I participated in an event in Cleveland to Honor the Women. This event was a combined effort with the LAOH and Irish Northern Aid. The event was well attended and recognized with a Proclamation from the City of Cleveland. The program focused on the role of women in the Irish Revolutionary movement with   Music, a Historical Presentation and Posters highlighting those involved from the Howth Gun Running to a list of the Women of Easter Week and their Garrison Assignments. The Friends of Sinn Fein provided visual displays featuring the Cumann na mBan. Hibernian member Margaret Lynch, Director of the Irish American Archives of Cleveland provided a display on Cleveland Women who were active in Nationalist activities.  These actions included supporting the Fenians, the Ladies Land League and their clash with the Bishop of Cleveland and the role of Adele Christy, at that time National Secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary Ancient Order of Hibernians and the first State Director of the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic.  Music was performed by Hibernian member Mary Agnes Kennedy.   I gave a short presentation using some of the Women’s own words on their involvement in every aspect of the Easter Rising and the struggle for Irish Freedom and the importance of making their history known.   I am planning to include the posters on our website for anyone to use. Please remember the Women of 1916 at your Division, County, State Board Meetings and at the State Conventions as well as when you are planning events during the remainder of 2015 and the upcoming 2016 Year.


I also had the privilege of speaking with University of Notre Dame Senior, Katie Brennan, a Cleveland area native. Katie Brennan was an Arts and Letters Intern on the Documentary 1916: The Irish Rebellion, an initiative of Notre Dame’s  Keough-Naughton Institute. The World Premiere of this documentary is set for March 3, 2016 at Notre Dame. The Three Part Documentary plans to air on PBS, the BBC, and  RTE in 2016 as well. Speaking of Notre Dame, I had the opportunity to visit the campus at the end of March. I attended the Spring Meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association. This was a wonderful learning experience and the highlight was the privilege of visiting the Archives of Notre Dame. Our Organization should be proud of our connection with the University and the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism.