Na Fianna Eireann recruitment poster, Belfast, 1914.

Fianna enrolment poster

Na Fianna Eireann recruitment poster from Belfast, 1914.

Note the addresses listed at the bottom – the girls branch which was called “The Betsy Gray” Sluagh met weekly at Berry Street on Tuesday nights.

This branch formed in 1911 and was the first ‘female’ branch in Ireland (and subsequently the only one). It only had about 20 members initially but rose to about 50 girls at its height. Ina and Nora Connolly were ‘officers’ in the Sluagh; Annie O’Boyle was its O/C. The girls from ‘Betsy Gray’ Sluagh attended the national Fianna Ard Fheis in 1912, 1913 and 1914. Their first appearance at the national congress in 1912 caused a bit of controversy amongst the boys in Dublin and prompted a heated debate amongst delegates on whether girls should be admitted to the organisation. The ‘Betsy Gray’ Sluagh remained in operation until about 1915 when most of the girls joined Cumann na mBan.

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