Cork sisters Annie and Mary MacSwiney’s role in Ireland’s revolutionary period will be revealed in a new documentary.

Five Cork women immortalised in new documentary

A new documentary looking at the important role played by 5 Cork women during Ireland’s revolutionary period will be screened in the city tomorrow, Friday.

‘Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times’ tells the story of 2 set of sisters, Nora and Sheila Wallace, and Mary, Annie and Muriel MacSwiney. These women played a vital part in the formation of the Irish state and yet the detail of what they did and how they managed to do it whilst still fulfilling their other roles as wives, mothers, teachers and shopkeepers, has received little attention.

The documentary first tells the story of how the Wallace sisters ran a newsagents shop on Augustine Street in Cork city centre, which effectively became the unofficial headquarters of the No 1 Brigade of the Cork Volunteers after their own headquarters on Sheares St was closed after the Rising.

Florrie O’Donoghue from the brigade is quoted: “If any 2 women deserved immortality for their work, they did!” Their story is told by members of the Shandon Area History Group and also by Bill Murphy, grand-nephew of the sisters, and by Bernadette Wallace, their niece. The second family to feature in the documentary are the MacSwiney family. Mary and Annie MacSwiney were the sisters of Terence MacSwiney, former Lord Mayor of Cork, whose death by hunger strike whilst imprisoned in Brixton Prison made international headlines and Muriel MacSwiney, their sister-in-law, was his wife.

This section will be told via interviews with Anne Twomey and Maeve Higgins, members of the Shandon Area History Group and also with Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, the grandson of Muriel MacSwiney and grand-nephew of Mary and Annie MacSwiney.

The documentary has been produced by Frameworks Films in collaboration with the Shandon Area History Group and was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. ‘Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times’ will be screened at the Dance Cork Firkin Crane Theatre in Shandon tomorrow at 7.30pm as part of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2022.

It will also be broadcast at 8pm this Sunday on Cork Community Television, which is available on Channel 803 on Virgin Media’s digital cable package and online on