Decade of Centenaries: Female, political imprisonment in early-20th century Ireland



Dr Laura McAtackney, Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow, University College Dublin

Posted: 28 June, 2016

Following the Fighters? Was an interdisciplinary project that focused on the locating, recording and interpretation of graffiti assemblages in the West Wing of Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. The primary aim was to locate female experiences of imprisonment during the last period of the functional prison life – the Irish Civil War (1922-1923) – but all forms of historic graffiti were included in the recording exercise. The creation of an e-resource and publications dissecting female experiences of political imprisonment from the Easter Rising to the end of the Irish Civil War were major goals including the open access website https://kilmainhamgaolgraffiti.com. The aim to reinsert women back into the narratives of this period were achieved through recording and interpreting institutional graffiti, examine prison issue and prison craft artefacts and analyzing extant autograph books located at Kilmainham Gaol.

The entire project was funded by the Irish Research Council; it would not have taken place without the funding these precarious graffiti assemblages would remain unrecorded and largely unrecognised for the historic value they have.

Selected publications

  • McAtackney, L. & N. Bergin. 2015. Gendered graffiti: understanding female experiences of imprisonment during the Irish Civil War History Ireland.
  • McAtackney, L. & G. Devlin. 2014. Recovering Revolutionary Ireland: graffiti recording at the West Wing of Kilmainham Gaol. Archaeology Ireland. Summer 2014.
  • McAtackney, L. 2015. Women’s autograph books: remembering the Easter Rising through the experiences of the Irish Civil War. In J Brück & L Gosdon (eds) Making 1916: the material culture of the Easter Rising. Liverpool: LUP.

Located in ‘Patrick Pearse’s cell’ on Corridor 1 of the Middle Floor. From https://kilmainhamgaolgraffiti.com/graffiti/graffiti-portraiture/