Exhibition marking centenary of Markievicz’s election opens

Constance Markievicz was the first female MP and the world’s first minister for labour

Constance Markievicz as a captain in the Irish Citizen Army. A new exhibition, entitled You Never Saw Such Excitement, looks at her election campaign and the people who campaigned for her.

Constance Markievicz as a captain in the Irish Citizen Army. A new exhibition, entitled You Never Saw Such Excitement, looks at her election campaign and the people who campaigned for her.

 

A new exhibition to mark the centenary of the first woman to be elected to Westminster was launched in Dublin on Thursday night.

The exhibition at Richmond Barracks focuses on the two years between Constance Markievicz’s release from Aylesbury Prison in England in June 1917 and her appointment as minister for labour in April 1919.

The exhibition, entitled You Never Saw Such Excitement, looks at her election campaign and those who campaigned for her.

Markievicz became the first female MP when she was elected to the House of Commons in December 1918. However, she did not take up her seat and helped form the first Dáil in January 1919. Several months later she became minister for labour – the first woman in the world to hold a cabinet position.

Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage Josepha Madigan said the exhibition highlighted women’s ongoing fight for equality.

‘Missed opportunities’

“As we reflect on the significant contribution women have made to our country over the last century we should also reflect on the missed opportunities for women and society in the conservative State which came into being after independence,” she said.

“We have made much progress in the Oireachtas to provide better and equal opportunities for all but we still have a way to travel.”

The exhibition opens to the public on Friday and will also be available online later this year.