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Here's why you'll see these women on buses all over Ireland

They were snipers, cooks and doctors during the 1916 Rising.
Mar 7th 2016, 3:15 PM 26,100 37

A MAJOR CAMPAIGN to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising will see women who featured prominently in the Rising adorn hundreds of buses in Ireland.

The project’s launch coincides with International Women’s Day, which is taking place tomorrow.

The exterior of a special double-decker commuter bus will feature images of six women, while 650 Bus Éireann buses nationwide will feature posters illustrating their stories – as will travel centres and bus shelters.

Women of the Rising Bus Eireann and RIA Lch-5 Olwen Jennings as 1916 revolutionary ‘Kathleen Lynn’;Michelle McClelland, Bus Éireann Acting Inspector; and Dr Jennifer Redmond, Lecturer in 20th Century Irish History

Busáras in Dublin will also feature billboards and a video about the campaign.

The figures will be profiled on board buses in the regions they are most associated with:

  • Kathleen Lynn: West of Ireland
  • Countess Marckievicz: Northwest
  • Helena Molony and Elizabeth O’Farrell: East
  • Mary Perolz: South and Southwest
  • Margaret Skinnider: Northeast

Images: Bus Éireann 

The 75-seater double-decker commuter bus featuring an exterior wrap with all six women will be used on the 103 Dublin to Ashbourne route from Beresford Place in Dublin city centre. The illustrations depicted on the bus were produced by artist David Rooney and feature in the Royal Irish Academy’s (RIA) 1916 Portraits and Lives project.

Nicola Cooke of Bus Éireann said the campaign will reach a wide audience. “We decided to go with an element that we felt there hadn’t been a light shone on as such,” she told TheJournal.ie.

IMG_8096 Source: Aoife Barry

The women were selected from the recent 1916: Portraits and Lives book, edited by Lawrence William White and published by the Royal Irish Academy.

“We took the six women out of the [Portrait and Lives] book and focused on them and their lives and what their connection with the Rising was,” explained Cooke. “We just felt it was something strong to go with and something different, and we were very lucky to get the support of Its4Women.ie.”

“Because Bus Éireann is a national network, we’ve regionalised all the women,” she added.

“I’m really proud of it and I think showing people all round Ireland the women that did play a role, that’s very important and Bus Éireann are very happy we’re doing this.”

We felt it was important to be involved in an initiative that shone a light on individuals – who were lesser known – but whose major contributions and sacrifices helped shape our nation 100 years ago.

RIA managing editor Ruth Hegarty told TheJournal.ie that the collaboration came about after the RIA decided to try and get the word out about women’s role in the Rising, following the publication of Portraits and Lives.

She said it was a good way for the public to learn more about the important role women played in the Easter Rising:

These women worked as snipers, cooks, couriers, secretaries, nurses and doctors during Easter Week. They all survived the Rising, and continued as teachers, doctors, actors and trade union activists. Their different life stories give a broader picture of the people who were involved in the Rising.

She explained how much there is to learn from the women’s experiences.

Women of the Rising Bus Eireann and RIA Lch-6 Source: RollingNews.ie

“When you dip into each individual story you get a different part of the Rising. When you read one individual story – they talk about staying up all night, bringing provisions to Liberty Hall in a pram, or they talk about injuries because a lot of them acted as nurses during the week.”

“People weren’t all going into the Rising with the same beliefs, and I think that is refreshing,” she added.

Call for mechanics

In addition, Bus Éireann has launched its call for new apprentice heavy mechanics, with a particular focus on getting women involved. A heavy mechanic would work on the upkeep and repair of buses.

“Unfortunately we’ve had very few females apply for the roles,” said Cooke, explaining that they have launched a national campaign featuring young female and male heavy mechanics, which details how the role has changed.

We haven’t had a female apprentice come through yet. It’s 2016 and we want to get women through the rungs here, get our first female heavy mechanic qualified.

More information on the women commemorated by the project can be read here. Bus Éireann will also be working extra services for the Easter weekend.

- with reporting by Aoife Barry

Read: Easter Monday in Dublin is set to be a family-friendly 1916 spectacular

Read: Fascinating statistics compare modern-day Ireland to the country in 1916

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Órla Ryan

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