Countess Markievicz’s funeral photograph. A photograph of mourners from the Madame de Markievicz Cumann, Fianna Fail, at Countess Markievicz’s funeral, July 1927.
“Madame Markievicz is gone from us. Madame, the friend of the toiler, the lover of the poor. Ease and station she put aside, and took the hard way of service with the weak and the downtrodden. Sacrifice, misunderstanding, and scorn lay on the road she adopted, but she trod it unflinchingly. She now lies at rest with her fellow-champions of the right, mourned by the people whose liberties she fought for, blessed by the loving prayers of the poor she tried so hard to befriend. The world knew her only as a soldier of Ireland, but we knew her as a colleague and comrade. We knew the friendliness, the great woman’s heart of her, the great Irish soul of her, and we know the loss we have suffered is not to be repaired. It is sadly we take our leave, but we pray high heaven that all she longed and worked for may one day be achieved.”
Constance Georgine Markievicz flanked by some of her Fianna boys
Towards the end of June 1927, Markievicz became seriously ill with appendicitis and, under advice from Dr. Kathleen Lynn, was admitted to Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital. She specifically requested a bed in the public ward. She was operated on almost immediately but complications arose and a second operation had to be performed on 8th July. Following this, she developed peritonitis and never recovered. She passed away on 15th July 1927. She was only 59 years of age.
Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital
The following is a tribute to Markievicz by founding member of Na Fianna Eireann and Chief of Staff Eamon Martin. It was written in 1966, during the 50th Anniversary of the Easter Rising:
“I had not met Madame until the founding of the Fianna. After that I was in constant association with her and came to know her very well. With her ingenuous nature, getting to know her came easy, and the wondering how and why she had come over to the Irish cause was no longer a puzzling question. That she was impetuous goes without saying, but not unwisely so; she did not make rash decisions, but, having made up her mind to a particular course she went ahead with no backward look. Whatever cause she embraced was wholehearted – no half measures and no compromise.
It was characteristic of her that when she turned her back on her own class and espoused the nationalist cause it was not to the parliamentarians she turned but dead straight into the separatist movement. And it was here that she displayed that impetuous trait to which I have referred. It was impatience that drove her to launch the Fianna. In starting the Fianna Madame was fortunate in having the benefit of Bulmer Hobson’s experience and counsel. Fortunate too in securing the adherence of two young men – Padraig O’Riain, with his organising ability, and Con Colbert, with his diving force. To these young men, afterwards joined by Liam Mellows, Garry Holohan and Sean Heuston, to name but a few, is due to the rapid success of the organisation. Madame was proud of them and made her gratitude manifest. She had a vision, dreaming of a young army on the march in the cause of Ireland, and here was her dream coming true.
What followed is now glorious history, which she helped to shape in large measure, and so long and wherever freedom is cherished shall the name and deeds of our beloved Madame be remembered. While this is my personal tribute, you can believe that it expresses the feelings of every member of the Fianna who had the privilege of knowing her.”
A plaque that was erected at Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital in Dublin in memory of Countess Markievicz. Former Fianna comrade Eamon Martin donated this plaque in honour of his close friend on behalf of all Fianna veterans. It was unveiled in 1967. Courtesy of Eamon Murphy Fianna Archives.
*The above tribute by Eamon Martin appeared in the book “Constance Markievicz: The People’s Countess” by Joe McGowan.
Source for the image of Markievicz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmqU_e_XicA