Dr Margaret Ward is a well-known feminist historian. Her recently published work, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington: Suffragette and Sinn Feiner (UCD Press 2017) has been widely acclaimed. Her books include Unmanageable Revolutionaries: Women and Irish Nationalism (Pluto Press 1983) and a biography of Maud Gonne. She is currently honorary senior lecturer in History with the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen's University of Belfast.
This full-length biographical study - substantially rewritten and updated - of one of the most important women in Irish political life in the 20th century is now reissued by UCD Press. Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, part of a pioneering generation, played a significant role in the early Irish Republic.Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was a leading figure in the suffrage movement, she was an activist in the anti-war movement of 1914-18 and was an executive member of Sinn Fein. She opposed the Free State and provided consistent support for women's resistance to anti-women measures enacted by both Cumann na nGaedheal and Fianna Fail. Her later career saw her as an electoral candidate to the Dail in 1943 and she proved herself fearless in her fight for justice, confronting both the British Prime Minister and the President of the United States of America.Incorporating new archival research and featuring an array of newly discovered images, Ward brings to light previously unpublished material about Hanna's personal life: her relationship with her husband and her role as a single parent. This timely revised edition serves to highlight the fascinating life of a pivotal figure in feminist, labour and nationalist movements in Ireland.
'GIVEN HER UNDOUBTED talents as a strategist and as a public speaker, why did Hanna Sheehy Skeffington not become one of the key figures in the republican movement?'
Margaret Ward in The Journal, December 2019
'Aside from its biographical importance, Fearless Woman retrieves and explains more of the the nuances of Irish feminist history in this period. While there is admiration for Sheehy Skeffington in the book, the narrative is also impartial against the backdrop of her polemical views.'
Evan Comerford, Irish Story, January 2020. Full review here.
'Margaret Ward is doing inestimable work for the women of the Irish Revolution. First with Maud Gonne and now Hanna Sheehy Skeffington. She takes us with uncanny insight into the labyrinth of these extraordinary times.'
'It takes a book like this to remind us how women have been written out of mainstream Irish history…In this biography of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington she draws out of oblivion the history of Irish feminism in the first decades of this century…When one reads Margaret Ward’s account of that period it is astounding that such consistent political action was omitted from Irish history.'
'Margaret Ward’s biography of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington reveals her to have been a remarkable woman in her own right who established a militant suffrage movement in Ireland, supported the organization of women workers and went on to become a significant figure in Sinn Fein. Throughout her life Hanna faced the difficult task of balancing the claims of her feminism and her commitment to Irish independence. Margaret Ward gives a balanced account, sifting through stories and myths.'
'this important and illuminating biography ... Margaret Ward is one of a number of women historians…who have been engaged in excavating the history of women in Ireland and the history of Irish feminism. This biography is an important contribution to that process.'
'Ward's book offers a vision of Irish feminism in its complexity, revealing the subtler and more nuanced relationships that crossed ideological differences, as well as the friendships and alliances among feminists in Ireland, England, America and Europe ... Through close and devoted study of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, scholars may see how all the theatrics of resistance – choreographies, stage business, the orchestration of shots, interruptions, heckling – is developed and transmuted. She remains a powerful feminist ancestor to study and admire.'
Irish Literary Supplement