In April 2023, The History Show on RTÉ Radio One broadcast an interview with Professor Lyndsey Earner-Byrne, Professor of Gender History at University College Cork. Professor Earner-Byrne discussed sexual violence during the civil war through the prism of one individual’s experience. Presenter Myles Dungan was also joined on the line by Dr Sinéad McCoole, Curator of Mna100.ie, which is part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme.
An extraordinary letter, written by a woman named Mary, then living in Moate, County Westmeath, to the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin – Dr Edward Joseph Byrne – reveals much about the hidden history of sexual violence during the Irish Civil War.
That letter is the subject of a short film on mna100.ie called Mary M. and Sexual Violence: Ordinary Voices and the Irish Civil War presented by Professor Lyndsey Earner-Byrne, Professor of Gender History at University College Cork.
Image taken from mna100.ie: ‘Mary M. and Sexual Violence: Ordinary Voices and the Irish Civil War’ by Professor Lyndsey Earner-Byrne. The Guild was established in 1910 to cater – albeit after charging high fees – for the children of single mothers via fostering or private adoption. The transcript, plus notes, of Professor Earner-Byrne’s film can be found here.
This episode of The History Show also contained interviews with Dr Ian Kenneally, Historian in Residence with Westmeath County Council and researcher with The History Show, and Dr Cormac Moore, Historian in Residence with Dublin City Council.
Ian Kenneally discussed the state-sanctioned executions that took place in Athlone during the Civil War, and their legacy, both locally and nationally. Cormac Moore discussed the events of 1 April 1923, when customs barriers were established on the northern border. The border made partition a tangible reality and had an immense impact on people’s daily lives on both sides of that dividing line.
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 23/05/2023