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Countess Markievicz, the Rebel Countess

Priceless photograph of Easter 1916 Rising leader to be sold

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Countess Markievicz, the Rebel Countess

A never before seen photograph of 1916 revolutionary hero Countess Markievicz will go on sale next week.

It shows her posing with a gun in a woodland setting accompanied by an unidentified woman.

Constance Gore Both was a member of the British aristocracy who joined the 1916 revolutionaries. She was the only woman leader of the Rising. She was originally sentenced to death but the sentence was later commuted. She was also famous for her beauty. W.B Yeats wrote about her in one of this most famous poems ‘Lisadell’ about the country house where they lived.

“The lights at evening Lisadell
“two girls in silk kimonos/
both beautiful,
one a gazelle."

Constance Gore-Booth married a Polish count and took his name. Her father was a famous Arctic explorer who was an enlightened landlord in Sligo. She originally trained as a painter but became inspired by James Connolly  and was founder of Fianna Eireann, the Youth wing of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

During the Rising, Lieutenant Markiewicz was appointed second in command to Michael Mallin in St Stephen's Green. She supervised the setting-up of barricades as the rising began and was in the middle of the fighting all around Stephen's Green.

She was sentenced to death by firing squad after being captured. When her sentence was commuted she remarked : “I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me."

The photograph is being sold on Sunday by a Cork antique house.

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