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Constance Markievicz, The Rebel Countess

By John & Fatti Burke

ISBN-13: 978-0717184552

A delightful children’s book, this story introduces us to the remarkable life and achievements of Countess Markievicz. I’d known some things about her role in Irish Independence and women’s suffrage, but I didn’t know anything about her otherwise and I’d always wondered how a Polish woman got involved in Irish politics. All of that was explained in the delightful hard-cover book by the dynamic Burke duo of father and daughter who created the enormously successful Irelandopedia.

Constance Markievicz: The Rebel Countess is book three in the Little Library series that are packed full of history in enjoyable bites and illustrations, just exactly how history should be fed to young minds. I learned that Constance grew up in County Sligo and lived in Lissadell House. Even as a young girl she was passionate about a dream that Ireland would one day be a free state and its people would be treated fairly. She dedicated her life to making this happen.

At the age of 19, Constance went to Paris to study art where she met the Polish Count and playwright Casimir Markievicz. They got married and moved to Dublin where they produced plays in which Constance starred. She joined the women’s suffrage movement and co-founded an Irish boy scout group. She started a soup kitchen, designed uniforms for a people’s army, helped unload guns from the Asgard with her boy scouts, and took part in the Easter Rising. She was jailed many times and welcomed by the people as a hero. When asked how a lady should dress during the rebellion, she answered, “Dress suitably in short skirts and strong boots, leave your jewels in the bank and buy a revolver.”

Her massive achievements include the first woman elected to British Parliament and formation of the Irish Dail. She lived to see the Irish Free State take shape. This is a great story, richly illustrated, and serves as inspiration to stand up for your beliefs for all young children, girls and boys.

There is a very handy timeline and a list of facts surrounding the stories at the end of the book. One of the facts has led me to research her father, an early arctic explorer by sail.

Published by Gill Books on the 6 September 2019

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