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A Century of Protest: Hanna Sheehy Skeffington in the US

September 7, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was Ireland’s most famous suffragette. When her husband Francis was shot by British firing squad during the Easter Rising, despite him being a pacifist, Hanna undertook an epic lecture tour of the US, publicising what had happened. This autumn her granddaughter, Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, also known for her fight for gender equality and justice, is repeating Hanna’s tour of the US all which will be filmed for a documentary. We are truly excited to welcome Micheline to at AIHS on Thursday, September 7, 2017.

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington:
“This tour will make for a thought-provoking and revealing documentary film because Hanna’s own story, the challenging of authorities, and the people and ideas she encountered in the US, continue to be relevant to us today.
Hanna’s prime motivation to go to America was to tell how her husband, Francis Sheehy Skeffington, had been shot without trial in Portobello Barracks, Dublin during Easter Week 1916. She’d met Prime Minister Asquith in London to demand a full public inquiry. Instead, he offered her £10,000 ‘hush money’ (€750,000 today) which she refused. When the ensuing enquiry proved a travesty, Hanna resolved to go to the US and ‘tell the truth and nothing but the truth’ about what happened to her husband and to the Irish people at the hands of the British. Giving the authorities the slip, she sailed from Glasgow with her seven year-old son, Owen (my father), using false passports.
A century later, I want to recreate that tour, sailing this autumn into New York as she did. I will locate their names registered at Ellis Island and stand on the stage at Carnegie Hall, which she filled at her first engagement in January 1917. I plan to speak about her in cities where she also spoke, like New York, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco. I’ll go to the train station where British agents attempted to abduct her across the border into Canada so they could arrest her.”

About Micheline:
Micheline took an equality case against her employers, NUI Galway in 2009 which she won in 2014 in a landmark decision by the Irish Equality Tribunal. Her win was the first by any female academic in Ireland or the UK proving gender discrimination in academic promotion. It resulted in extensive media coverage which was then doubled when she announced she was offering her €70,000 award to the five other women who were shortlisted and not promoted in that round so they could take High Court actions, as they were by then out of time to go to the Irish Equality Tribunal.
Ever since Micheline, a plant ecologist by profession, has been campaigning both for the five women and to highlight the awful promotion prospects for women in Irish Universities. A European report shows that only Malta is worse than Ireland in all of Europe.
Micheline was inspired to take her case by her feminist grandparents. “I felt I owed it to them and to my parents to try to seek justice for women in academia”. She is currently fund-raising with just a week to go, to have her tour following in her grandmother’s footsteps filmed for a full documentary entitled ‘Hanna and me –Passing on the flame’. Check it out HERE


AIHS Members: FREE

Non Members: $10

Eventbrite - A Century of Protest: Hanna Sheehy Skeffington in the US


September 7, 2017
6:30 pm
Event Category:


American Irish Historical Society
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The American Irish Historical Society
The American Irish Historical Society is a cultural institution featuring a library and archive, public arts programming, and events space.
991 Fifth Avenue
New York
United States

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