Irish Women at War: The Twentieth Century


Gillian McIntosh and Diane Urquhart (Eds.)

Examines Irish women and their roles in wars spanning the 20th Century. Local history, oral testimony, memoir, fiction and autobiography.

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This book is the first to assess the impact of conflict on women in 20th Century Ireland, and how women responded to and influenced these conflicts themselves. Their roles ranged from combatants, pioneer and workers, victims and survivors, prisoners, poets, playwrights and artists.

Irish women have played their part in many spheres during two World Wars and three national conflicts in the twentieth century. Drawing on original research from a range of international scholars, and covering the span of the century, this book considers women and war through a myriad of themes – militarism, morality, political activism and motherhood – and through the lens of a variety of sources, from memoirs to political propaganda, artistic output to activism on the streets. Whatever their socio-economic or political background, a common thread of engagement links Irish women in wartime as they challenged and changed societies subsumed by hostilities.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Irish women at war: the twentieth century
Gillian McIntosh and Diane Urquhart
1.) Ora et Labora: The Women’s Legion, 1915-18 ~ Diane Urquhart
2.) Green Flags on their Bayonets: Winifred Letts and the Great War ~ Kieron Winterson
3.) Reforming and Reframing: Newspaper representations of Mary Bowles and the War of
Independence, 1919-21 ~ Louise Ryan
4.) When Female Activists Say ‘I’: Veiled Rebels and the Counterhistory of Irish Independence ~ Karen Steele
5.) Who’s looking after baby? Nursery school care in Northern Ireland during the Second World War ~ Gillian McIntosh
6.) ‘To make good butter and to look after poultry’: The impact of the Second World War on the Lives of Rural Women in Northern Ireland ~ Clare O’Kane
7.) ‘Filthy Little Girls’: Controlling Women in Public Spaces in Northern Ireland during the Second World War ~ Leanne McCormick
8.) Bin Lids, Bombs, and Babies in Free Derry: Reading the Troubles as a Woman’s War ~ Elizabeth Mac Crossan
9.) ‘A tender flower…to be carefully nourished’: The Northern Ireland Women’s Peace Movement,
Gender Order, State Security and the Cold War, 1970-76 ~ Marie Hammond-Callaghan

10.) ‘A republican who wants to further women’s rights’: Women, Provisional Republicanism, Feminism and Conflict in Northern Ireland, 1972-98 ~ Maria Power

11.) ‘Blood on the Walls’: Gender, History and Writing the Armagh Woman ~ Mary McAuliffe and Laura Hale

12.) Mapping Madness: Women’s Artistic Responses to the Troubles, c. 1968-98 ~ Andrea Rea

13.) Remapping Protestant Women and Interracial Minorities in Christina Reid’s War Dramas ~ Wei H. Kao

About the Author

Gillian McIntosh is a social and cultural historian and a Visiting Fellow in the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University, Belfast.

Diane Urquhart is Senior Lecturer in Modern Irish History and Deputy Director at the Institute of Irish Studies of the University of Liverpool.