An exhibition on Laois Cumann na mBan will be launched in Mountmellick Library on Tuesday 5th July at 7.30 pm. The exhibition was curated by Mountmellick native Bernadette Dunne with the support of Laois County Library as part of its Decade of Centenaries programme.
According to Bernadette Dunne “official records pertaining to the organisation, membership and activities of Cumann na mBan in County Laois are sparse to say the least. Laois is the only county not to have a register of Cumann na mBan members.” At the suggestion of her father, Richard ‘Dick’ Fitzpatrick, whose mother was an active member in Laois, Bernadette launched a project to gather oral histories of the revolutionary women before they were lost forever.
The stories of the Laois women that feature in the exhibition are compiled from official records housed in the Military Archives and the oral histories gathered by Bernadette. The Cumann na mBan exhibition and related events are part of a long-term and on-going engagement by Laois Local Studies in projects bringing back into the light women’s experience of the revolutionary period. It is hoped that the exhibition will encourage the public to share and record for posterity more stories relating to the forgotten women of revolutionary Laois.
Speakers on the night will include historian Regina Dunne, who has researched Cumann na mBan in Laois; Sinead Holland (Laois Local Studies) who is compiling an archive and membership roll of Laois Cumann na mBan; Bernadette Dunne, who will outline her ongoing project to gather oral histories of Laois Cumann na mBan members.
The exhibition will remain in the Mountmellick Library until the end of August and will be exhibited in other Laois library branches in the coming months. If you have information on Laois members of Cumann na mBan that you would like recorded, you can email Bernadette Dunne at email@example.com and Laois Local Studies on firstname.lastname@example.org