4. WOMEN PRISONERS

The following section contained two lists: the names of women who wrote their names in English either in autograph book(s) or on the walls of the West Wing of Kilmainham Gaol and those who wrote their names using the Irish language as well as some initial statistics analysis derived from these lists.

Both lists are alphabetised and spelt how the women spelt their names at the time. For the list in English there are inconsistencies in the spelling of some of the names (those that have variations have square brackets [ ]) and some names were difficult to read and therefore are guesses at best (they are proceeded by ‘?’). Where there is any doubt as to whether a name is replicating another name (including signing using a nickname / shortened version of name / variations in detail in address) the extra entry has been retained in the list. The list is formulated around the surname of the female prisoner and includes information gathered through combining the sources on home address and the prisons where the women were held throughout the civil war period (and sometimes before).

The Irish list contains the names of women who wrote their names in Irish either in autograph book(s) or on the walls of the West Wing of Kilmainham Gaol, although they may have also written their name in English elsewhere. They are alphabetised and spelt how the women spelt their names at the time. There are inconsistencies in the spelling of some of the names (they will have variations in square brackets [ ]) and some names were difficult to read and therefore are guesses (they are proceeded by ‘?’). The list has been ordered by the woman’s surname, with many starting with ‘Ni’ and ‘Nic’, and has combined information from all the sources regarding their home address and / or prisons they were held in during (and before, if recorded) the civil war period.

Many of the women chose to write their name in Irish, either alongside an English translation or as an alternative to it. The names were written in the old Irish Script  and at times were difficult to read, translate or were inconsistent in how the name was spelt:

An example of women who have chosen to sign their names using Irish in an autograph book (Kilmainham Gaol Archive)

An example of women who have chosen to sign their names using Irish in an autograph book (Kilmainham Gaol Archive)

This did create difficulties in identifying some of the women, particularly those who were only learning how to write Irish in prison (see section under ‘Graffiti’ on Irish Language). All names included in this list have been translated into Roman script but have otherwise not been corrected. Accents have not been utilized due to their inconsistent use. Where there is doubt as to the translation a ‘?’ has been placed at the start of the name. For further information on the women’s use of Irish see here.

It is noted in the final column where the woman’s name has been located through the use of the woman’s name (for autograph book) or a abbreviated description of where the graffiti was located. For the sake of being concise C = Cell / Co = Corridor / Fl = Floor.

Please note that the following is not a complete list of women’s names who were interned during the Civil War. Instead it collates information on the women that they wrote themselves and includes those who added their names to extant autograph books or where the graffiti still exists at Kilmainham Gaol. More complete lists of prisoners are retrievable from the Irish Military Archives, particularly in the internment files/ledgers. Ann Matthews has synthesized much of this material and it can be found in an appendix to her excellent book Dissidents: Irish Republican Women, 1923-1941

 

 

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