Anna Catherine Parnell

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Anna Catherine Parnell (13 May 1852 – 20 September 1911) was an Irish nationalist and younger sister of Irish Nationalist leader, Charles Stewart Parnell. She was born at Avondale House in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow.

Ladies' Land League[edit]

When it seemed that the Land League men were likely to be arrested, it was suggested that a women's league in Ireland could take over the work in their absence. Public opinion at the time was against women in politics, but Anna and her sister, Fanny Parnell (1848 - 1882), a poet, helped found the Ladies' Land League in 1881.[1]

When Charles Parnell and other leaders were imprisoned in 1881, as predicted, the Ladies' Land League took over their work. Offices were given to the ladies but little help. The women held public meetings and encouraged country women to be active in withholding rent, in boycotting and in resisting evictions. They raised funds for the League and for the support of prisoners and their families. They distributed Land League wooden huts to shelter evicted tenant families and by the beginning of 1882 they had 500 branches, thousands of women members and considerable publicity. They distributed £60,000 in relief aid.[1]

This put the Ladies' Land League in serious debt. Anna approached Charles, requesting money to settle the debts. Charles, who distrusted Anna's understanding of politics, agreed to provide the money under the condition that the Ladies' Land League be disbanded. Anna agreed, disbanding in 1882, but she never forgave Charles.[1]

Later life[edit]

After her brother's death on 1891 Anna lived the rest of her life in the south of England under an assumed name. She wrote an angry account of her Land League experiences in Tale of a Great Sham, which was not published until 1986.[1] She never married. She drowned at Ilfracombe, Devon in 1911.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Boylan, Henry (1998). A dictionary of Irish biography (3. ed.). Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 0717125076. 
  • Patricia Groves, Petticoat Rebellion - The Anna Parnell Story, Mercier Press , Cork, 2009.
  • A. Parnell, Tale of a Great Sham, Dublin, 1986.
  • Jane Côté, Fanny and Anna Parnell: Ireland's patriot sisters, Gill and Macmillan Publishers, Dublin, 1991.
  • Jane Côté & Dana Hearne, Anna Parnell in Mary Cullen & Maria Luddy (eds.)
  • Women, power and consciousness, Dublin, 1995
  • Danae O'Regan, Anna and Fanny Parnell in History Ireland, Spring 1999.
  • Margaret Ward, Unmanageable Revolutionaries: women and Irish nationalism, Pluto Press, London, 1983