Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916

Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916
The Signatories of the Proclamation

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Countess Markiewicz

4 February 1868 – 15 July 1927

They were taken to Dublin Castle and the Countess was then transported to Kilmainham jail. There she was the only one of 70 women prisoners who was put into solitary confinement. No doubt, she fully expected to be executed.

On May 3rd she sat in her cell and heard the three volleys of the first executions, each followed by a single pistol shot as the commander of the firing squad put one bullet in their heads. Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, and Patrick Pearse were dead, though she had no idea whom the victims might have been. As prepared as she may have been to die, alone there in her cell, the sounds must have been chilling.

At her court martial she told the court, "I did what was right and I stand by it." Her conviction was assured, only her sentence was in doubt. She was sentenced to death, but General Maxwell commuted this to life in prison on "account of the prisoner's sex." Given a choice she would probably have been added to the list of those dying for the cause. She told the officer who brought her the news , ".... I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me."

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