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  • Bridget Walsh

Women and The Irish Rebellion: Hannah Purtill

Just finished reading Wounds by Fergal Keane. In it Keane tells the story of his grandmother, Hannah Purtill. A Kerrywoman, she was born in 1901, just fifty years after the Famine.


At the age of nineteen, she joined Cumann na mBan, the women's wing of the Irish Volunteers in the fight for Irish independence from Britain. The women were used to carry guns and messages between the men of the Volunteers.


In the book, a memoir, Fergal Keane researches his grandmother's story, untold by her, together with the stories of her brother Mick and their neighbour, Con Brosnan.


She sounds like a determined woman who decided to do brave things in the cause of her country.


The book also seeks to explain the reasons for the Civil War immediately after Independence, which I always found puzzling up to this point. I understand better now.





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