MARKIEVICZ, Constance de. A Short History of the Irish People. From the Earliest Times to 1920. [SIGNED AND GIFTED FROM COUNTESS MARKIEVICZ]


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By Mary Hayden and George A. Moonan. Dublin: The Talbot Press, 1921. Octavo. pp. viii, 580. Green faded buckram. Presentation copy from Constance de Markievicz to Seamus MacCall and endorsed by him on front pastedown “given by the Countess de Markievicz / to me in Frankfort House, Dartry /in 1925 / Seamus MacCall”. Some minor foxing. A unique copy from the library of the Countess.
Constance Gore-Booth (Countess Markievicz, 1868-1927), revolutionary, was born to an Anglo-Irish ascendancy family, and was educated at the family seat in Lissadell, Co. Sligo. She is one of the most romanticised political figures of the early twentieth century. She studied painting in Paris, where she met her Polish husband Casimir Markievicz, whom she later amicably separated from. She became a follower of Sinn Féin but disagreed with the approach of its leader, Arthur Griffith. She founded a youth organisation, Fianna Eireann and joined Inghinidhe na hEireann for which she wrote ‘A Call to the Women of Ireland’ and contributed also to the suffragette newspaper, ‘Bean na hEireann’.
Later she worked closely with James Connolly, ran a soup kitchen in Liberty Hall during the Dublin lock-out of 1913. She became an officer in the Irish Citizen Army, this prompted the resignation of its general secretary, Sean O’Casey. During the Easter Rebellion of 1916 she served as second-in- command to Michael Mallin at St. Stephen’s Green, sentenced to death but was reprieved on account of her sex. She was the first woman ever elected to the House of Commons in 1918, but as a member of Sinn Féin did not take her seat.
MacCall, Seamus (1892-1964), Irish Nationalist Author and Broadcaster and soldier, was born at sea in late 1892, the younger son of John MacCall, a protestant civil engineer of Omagh, County Tyrone, and Eithne MacCall (née MacAlister), a Dublin-born Scots Presbyterian. He went to school in Omagh until he was seven, when he was sent to Malvern College, Worcestershire. Aged sixteen, he ran away from school and went as a stowaway on a ship to South America. Arriving in Rio de Janeiro with £3, he worked in odd jobs, including a meat-canning factory in Uruguay, helped build a railway across the Andes, and lived three months in the Brazilian jungle. In Chile he enrolled in university to study ethnography and went on field trips before volunteering in 1914 for the British Expeditionary Force. Stationed in France and the Dardanelles, he was wounded in action, received the MC, and was gazetted captain. After conducting more archaeological research in south-west Europe and north Africa while. still in the army, he became interested in the Irish struggle for independence. His father was first cousin to Roger Casement. Resigning his British army commission in late 1918, MacCall waived his pension rights and proceeded to Ireland, where he worked in the foreign relations section of the Dáil Éireann administration. His linguistic ability proved useful. After the treaty he took the republican side and was made colonel-commandant of the IRA western command. Twice captured, he escaped both times and was with Éamon de Valera when he was arrested in Derry in 1924 but was released after a few hours. After the civil war he was in Manchester for a period as editor of Éire but returned to Dublin to work as a freelance writer for British, American, and French journals - where he specialised in Celtic studies - and to edit the Irish Review until 1931, when he became art editor of the Irish Press. In 1937 he represented the Irish government as senior chief observing officer for the League of Nations in Spain during its civil war. After serving in the Irish army as chief press liaison officer (194-46), he worked (probably on a freelance basis) for the Department of External Affairs. In May 1949 he suggested, as an alternative to granting northern nationalists seats in the Dáil (an idea he termed impractical), the setting up of a Northern Advisory Council, consisting mainly of nationalist MPs and senators who would act in an advisory capacity to the Irish government. This suggestion found favour with the government, but his subsequent negotiations with northern nationalists were frustrating and led nowhere. In his meticulous and pessimistic reports, he termed the Anti-Partition League (a nationalist organisation, founded 1945) unrealistic in its aims, and in control of the smuggling racket in south Armagh. In 1963 he was made chairman of Irish PEN. He died 29 October 1964 at home in Tower Hill, Dalkey, Co. Dublin. An obituary described him as ‘soldier, writer, archaeologist, ethnologist, international peace officer and accomplished linguist’ (Ir. Times, 30 Oct. 1964).


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