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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Sinn Féin USA

The Woman History Tried To Erase


The original photo on the left, the airbrushed photo to the right

There is a famous picture of the 1916 rebels surrendering at the end of Easter week. In it, we see Patrick Pearse addressing two British Soldiers. A historic and iconic picture of Republican history. But it was doctored. Standing beside Pearse that day was Elizabeth O'Farrell. O’Farrell and her lifelong partner, Julia Grennan were members of Cumann na mBan and dedicated Republican fighters for justice, equality and Irish Independence.

O'Farrell and Grennan had acted as dispatch carriers during the Rising, fearlessly moving between the GPO and the rebel held commands across Dublin. When the GPO was evacuated, O’Farrell, Grenan and Winifred Carney, accompanied Pearse and the Volunteers to Moore Street.

O'Farrell and Patrick Pearse walked down Moore Street to the British lines to deliver the surrender message. In the famous photo Elizabeth O’Farrell is standing beside Pearse, her feet and hem of dress visible. She would

Elizabeth O'Farrell

later be airbrushed out by the newspapers of the day.

Julia Grennan

After the Rising, Elizabeth continued to be active in Cumann na mBan during the War of Independence. She and Grennan opposed the Treaty and she remained involved in Republican politics until her death in 1957.

Elizabeth O’Farrell was born on this day in 1884. We remember, and history remembers.

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