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Maude Gonne.

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Maude Gonne.


Maude Gonne was a nationalist and political activists she was the founder in 1900 of Inghinidhe na heirren (Daughters of Ireland) and in 1905 was one of the founders of Sinn Fein. She was born in Surrey England to an Irish Colonel and his English wife, she moved to Ireland in 1882. She rapidly became one of Irelands most colorful nationalist figures of the time.

In 1887 Gonne went to Paris to be with her lover Lucien Millevoye, with whom she had two children George (1890-91) and Iseult (1894-1954) the couple parted in 1899, throughout her period in France she campaigned and raised funds for Ireland.

Gonne met W B Yeats in 1889, the two became lifelong friends, he composed his most nationalist play in 1902 'Cathleen ni Houlihan' for her to act in at the Abbey Theatre. It is said she refused Yeates' offer of marriage several times. In 1903 she married Major John McBride, whom she divorced soon after the birth of their son Sean, who was later to become famous in his own right.

In August 1902 Maude Gonne wrote a letter to W B Yeates describind a children's excursion she had organised to Tata.

"Our children's excursion was a great success, and everybody enjoyed the day immensely. Briscoe had prepared an enormous bonfire to be lighted in honour of the King of England's coronation. We felt it would serve a better purpose if burnt in honour of an independent Ireland so lighted it and sang A Nation Once Again. The constabulary didn't like it at all and danced and jumped with rage - they added greatly to the fun."

At the outbreak of the first world war she served in France with the ambulance corps, she returned to Ireland after the execution of her former husband John for his part in the Easter Rising of 1916. She then for the first time adopted her husbands name. She was imprisoned for nationalist activities in 1918. After the formation of the Irish Free State, she became active in the Women's Prisoners Defense League.

The few words below are from her autobiography.

More and more I realized that Ireland
could only rely on force,
in some form or another,
to free herself.

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