Monday 11 December 2017

Lesbians of 1916 are the Rising's 'hidden history'

Key female figures were making radical choices in politics - and in their personal lives too, writes Maeve Sheehan

More than friends: Kathleen Lynn. left, founded St Ultan’s Hospital for infants in 1919 with Madeleine ffrench-Mullen, who was considered to be her lover
More than friends: Kathleen Lynn. left, founded St Ultan’s Hospital for infants in 1919 with Madeleine ffrench-Mullen, who was considered to be her lover
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

In the 1916 commemorations, women are celebrated as the forgotten heroes of 1916. But there is another hidden history and it concerns women who loved women.

RTE's flagship 1916 drama, Rebellion, has its female leads in thrall to men. Some of the most radical relationships to emerge from that period were between women.

Kathleen Lynn, medical doctor and captain of the Irish Citizens Army, fought alongside Madeleine ffrench-Mullen during Easter week. They shared a prison cell when they were caught and lived together for decades afterwards.

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