Cumann na mBan Symposium

This symposium considered the important discussions, debates, impacts and legacies of the Cumann na mBan split, for political women and for women, more broadly, in the Free State.

Cumann na mBan, the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Split, 1922; A symposium took place on 25 February 2022. This online event, which was organised by UCD’s Dr Mary McAuliffe, was funded by UCD Decade of Centenaries, and supported by UCD Gender Studies and Women’s History Association of Ireland (WHAI).

Thanks to the funding from UCD Decade of Centenaries the symposium was recorded and is now able as a video and as a podcast. You can listen to, or watch presentations from historians Dr Leeann Lane (DCU), Dr Margaret Ward (QUB), Professor Caitriona Beaumont (LSBU), and Dr Mary McAuliffe (UCD).

Watch the video:

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple, and Soundcloud:

About the Cumann na mBan split

On February 5th, 1922, the Cumann na mBan convention was held in Dublin to consider its response to the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The executive of the organisation had already rejected the Treaty, as had all six women TDs. Cumann na mBan was the first major militant organisation to meet on the treaty, and the first to publicly split. Out of that split came an anti-Treaty Cumann na mBan who were actively militant during the Civil War, and a pro Treaty women’s organisation, Cumann na Saoirse, founded to support the Cumann na nGaedheal Government and the Irish Free State army. This symposium considers the important discussions, debates, impacts and legacies of that split, for political women and for women, more broadly, in the Free State.

Speakers

Dr Leeann Lane “I care not … if I take more of your time than you are willing to give”: Mary MacSwiney and the Treaty debates.

Dr Margaret Ward ‘Cumann na mBan debates the treaty’

Dr Mary McAuliffe ‘Sister against Sister; Cumann na mBan and Cumann na Saoirse, 1922-1923’

Professor Caitriona Beaumont ‘Cumann na mBan, the Anglo-Irish Treaty and women’s contribution to the new Irish state: my grandmother’s story’

The symposium was chaired by Dr Fionnuala Walsh from UCD.

Image: Group portrait of the Executive of Cumann na mBan, 5 February 1922. UCD Archives, UCDA P106/1466 Papers of Sighle Humphreys.