Bridie O'Mullane

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Bridie O'Mullane
Bridie O'Mullane in C na mB uniform, circa 1918 (cropped).jpg
O'Mullane in her Cumann na mBan uniform, c. 1918
Bridget Josephine Mullane

4 March 1895
County Sligo, Ireland
Died1969/1970 (aged 74)[1]
OrganizationCumann na mBan

Bridget Josephine "Bridie" O'Mullane (born 4 March 1895 - died 1969/1970),[1] was a recruiting officer for Cumann na mBan during the Irish War of Independence and the Director of Publicity and Propaganda during the Irish Civil War.


O'Mullane, seen on the right holding a briefcase, celebrates the election of Seán Lemass to the Dáil in 1924

Bridget Josephine Mullane was born 4 March 1895 in Sligo to Bridget (née McCaffery) and James Mullane. Her father was a Royal Irish Constable while her mother ran a drapery shop in the town.[2] Count Plunkett was visiting the town of Sligo in 1917 following his victory as Sinn Féin MP in the North Roscommon by-election and stayed with the Mullane family on Grattan Street. Countess Plunkett told O'Mullane about Cumann na mBan and how they were recruiting and needed a branch in Sligo. By 1918 O'Mullane was a member the Executive of Cumann na mBan. She had founded branches in County Sligo and went on to work all over the country.[3][4]

She was arrested on 3 November 1918 for selling flags without a permit, to raise funds for the organisation. She was also arrested when she was visiting her father in prison, for carrying seditious literature and later during the civil war, acting on the Anti-Treaty side O'Mullane was arrested and imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol. Her cell was left decorated with graffiti, slogans and drawings that are still visible. She went on to be appointed Director of Publicity and Propaganda during the Irish Civil War.[5][6][7][8][9][3][10]

During her time as a political prisoner in Kilmainham Gaol O'Mullane was appointed Officer Commanding of the prisons A Wing.[11] She conducted negotiations with the prison commander on their behalf. She was also reportedly assaulted by the police while in custody.[12][13]

After the war O'Mullane was a member of the Friends of Soviet Russia and took part in various conferences between workers.[14] She died at age 74 and is buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Bridie O'Mullane, Cumann na mBan, 1918". 8 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Birth record" (PDF). Irish Genealogy.
  3. ^ a b "A life story not yet told". independent.
  4. ^ Townshend, Charles (26 September 2013). The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, 1918-1923. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-0-241-00349-7.
  5. ^ "CAPITAL D – Kilmainham Gaol – Gems in the Cells | RTÉ Presspack".
  6. ^ "Lest We Forget (10)". 1 October 2019.
  7. ^ O'Sullivan, Niamh (30 June 2007). Every Dark Hour: A History of Kilmainham Jail. Liberties Press. ISBN 978-1-909718-07-4.
  8. ^ O'Reilly, Lisa (23 September 2014). "Graffiti: Commemoration and Memorialisation". kilmainhamgaolgraffiti.
  9. ^ "Bridie O'Mullane, Cumann na mBan, c. 1918". National Museum of Ireland.
  10. ^ McCoole, Sinéad. "Women in 1919: The 'eyes and ears' of the conflict". The Irish Times.
  11. ^ McCoole, Sinéad, (2003), No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years, 1900–1923, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, pg. 108.
  12. ^ McConville, Sean (23 April 2020). Irish Political Prisoners 1920-1962: Pilgrimage of Desolation. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-000-08274-6.
  13. ^ McKenna, Joseph (30 October 2019). Women in the Struggle for Irish Independence. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-8041-5.
  14. ^ "Search the archives: Simple search: National Archives of Ireland: Women in 20th-Century Ireland, 1922-1966: Sources from the Department of the Taoiseach (Browse records)".