CollectionEithne Coyle O'Donnell
Collection DescriptionEithne Coyle O'Donnell, born 1897, elected President of Cumann na mBan in 1926, resigned (unsuccessfully) in 1940. She organised branches of Cumann na mBan in her native Falcarragh, County Donegal (with Leslie Price) in 1918, subsequently in Tyrone and Roscommon until her arrest in January, 1921. She was imprisoned in Roscommon, Athlone and Mountjoy gaols, escaped from latter in October, 1921 with Eileen Keogh, Kathleen May Burke and Linda Kearns escaped from Mountjoy. She lived in hiding until the outbreak of the civil war when she returned to Dublin, carried arms and messages for the Volunteers and worked for Cumann na mBan in Dawson Street. She was imprisoned again in Mountjoy and she went on hunger strike for achievement of political status. She was released in 1923 she spent the 1920s and 1930s writing pamphlets presenting the Republican and Cumann na mBan position, and growing increasingly critical of de Valera's government. She died in January 1985.
Collection Web Address

The Papers contain draft of autobiography of Eithne Coyle's early life, with reference to the land war of the 1890s and her father's early death, Maud Gonne MacBride's friendship and work in Donegal, their respective activities in the Republican movement. Also proposed history of Cumann na mBan compiled in the 1970s, and replies to questionnaires she sent out to surviving members of Cumann na mBan relating to activities, 1914-1923.

The collection also includes a number of publications, pamphlets and speeches, including 1935 lecture to Gaelic Society in Trinity College, Dublin, covering Irish history and women's part in it, 1798 to 1920s, activities of Cumann na mBan in Easter Week 1916, with their positions in occupied buildings]

Recruitment poster for Cumann na mBan, 1940s

Letters to the press and presscuttings, and photographs of self, Hannah Sheehy Skeffington, Mae Burke and members of Cumann na mBan.

Correspondence, 1934-1940, relating to the organisation including letter from Mary MacSwiney relating to her resignation, the incompatability of James Connolly's social policies with Christianity and her disappointment that Cumann na mBan should give allegiance to the Republic.

Autograph Book of women political prisoners in the North Dublin Union, 1923.

Application for IRA pension, 1945-1946.

AccessBy prior appointment.

A descriptive list for this collection is available here.

This collection was deposited in UCD Archives by Eithne Coyle O'Donnell's son, Father Christopher O'Donnell, and her daughter, Sister Máire O'Donnell, in 1982.

Produced for consultation in digital format.

Repository NameUCD Archives
AddressJames Joyce Library UCD Belfield Dublin 4
EircodeD04 R7R0
Telephone(01) 716-7555
Repository Web