Dr. Jackie Uí Chionna (National University of Ireland, Galway), “Family Networks in the Revolutionary Generation: The Ryans of Tomcoole, A Case Study”

28 novembre 2019 - 17 h 00 min - 19 h 00 min


Dr. Jackie Uí Chionna (National University of Ireland, Galway), “Family Networks in the Revolutionary Generation: The Ryans of Tomcoole, A Case Study”

‘The story of the Ryan girls is a fabulous family saga about a group of young women who were liberated by education and their own affirmative personalities in the early years of the 20th century…The standard biographies of Irish lives often ignore spouses and family connections, but these women were clearly influential on that revolutionary generation around them.’ (Belfast Newsletter, 7 October 2014. Mary Kenny). Mary Kate (Kit), Josephine Mary (Min), Christina and Phyllis Ryan were sisters, and part of a close family circle, the Ryans, fromToomcoole, Co. Wexford, Ireland. Brought up in a strongly nationalist family, all of the sisters progressed to university, and their education, relationships and social circles placed them at the very heart of the revolutionary movement in the period 1912-1922. Three of the sisters were in relationships with leading figures in the 1916 Rising – Phyllis and Min themselves served as messengers during the Rising. But they were also bright young women, who studied abroad, and whilst studying in London and Paris, they communicated with each other by way of a writing book or jotter, which was then circulated from one sister to another. They also wrote copious amounts of letters to each other, comparing notes on everything from political movements to their latest boyfriends and social lives. This lecture will examine the correspondence of the Ryan sisters as a case study in the significance of family networks for the revolutionary generation in British and Irish history. 

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