This landmark book, reissued with a new foreword to mark the centenary of Irish women being granted the right to vote, is the first comprehensive analysis of the Irish suffrage movement from its mid-nineteenth-century beginnings to when feminist militancy exploded on the streets of Dublin and Belfast in the early twentieth century. Younger, more militant suffragists took their cue from their British counterparts, two of whom travelled to Ireland to throw a hatchet into the carriage of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith on O’Connell Bridge in 1912 (missing him but grazing Home Rule leader John Redmond, who was in the same carriage; both politicians opposed giving women the Vote).
Despite such dramatic publicity, and other non-violent campaigning, women’s suffrage was a minority interest in an Ireland more concerned with the issue of gaining independence from Britain. The particular complexity of the Irish struggle is explored with new perspectives on unionist and nationalist suffragists and the conflict between Home Rule and suffragism, campaigning for the vote in country towns, life in industrial Belfast, conflicting feminist views on the First World War, and the suffragist uncovering of sexual abuse and domestic violence, as well as the pioneering use of hunger strike as a political tool.
The ultimate granting of the franchise in 1918 represented the end of a long-fought battle by Irish women for the right to equal citizenship, and the beginning of a new Ireland that continues to debate the rights and equality of its female citizens.
Table of Contents
Foreword ~ Linda Connolly
Introduction: an overview if the suffrage movement ~ Mary Luddy
- Feminism, Citizenship and Suffrage: a long dialogue ~ Mary Cullen
- ‘Onward hand in hand’: The nineteenth century Irish campaign for votes for women ~ Carmel Quinlan
- Women of the West: campaigning for the vote in early twentieth century Galway, c.1911-c.1915 ~ Mary Clancy
- Staging Suffrage: The Events of 1913 Dublin Suffrage Week ~ Paige Reynolds
- Publicising the Private: suffragists’ critique of sexual abuse and domestic violence ~ Louise Ryan
- ‘Great Gas’ and ‘Irish Bull’: Humour and the Fight for Irish Women’s Suffrage ~ Cliona Murphy
- Suffragettes and the Transformation of Political Imprisonment in Ireland, 1912-1914 ~ William Murphy
- ‘Rolling up the Map of Suffrage’: Irish Suffrage and the First World War ~ Margaret Ward
- ‘Untouchability’, Vegetarianism and the Suffragist Ideology of Margaret Cousins ~ Catherine Cousins
- Rosamond Jacob: nationalism and suffrage ~ Leeann Lane
- Labour and Suffrage: Spinning Threads in Belfast ~ Denise Kleinrichert
- Ulster: debates, demands and divisions: The battle for (and against) the vote ~ Myrtle Hill
- After the Vote: Women, citizenship and the campaign for gender equality in the Irish Free State (1922-1943) ~ Caitriona Beaumont
About the Editors
Dr Louise Ryan is Professor of Sociology at the University of Sheffield.
Dr Margaret Ward is Visiting Fellow in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University Belfast.
Both have published widely on Irish women and nationalism and co-edited Irish Women and Nationalism: Soldiers, New Women and Wicked Hags (Irish Academic Press, 2004).