Lissadell House - Co. Sligo - Ireland

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Constance Gore Booth 1898 Starry Album by PC

Constance in 1898, from the Sterry Album, acquired for Lissadell in 2007

Countess Markievicz, born Constance Georgine Gore Booth, politician, revolutionary, tireless worker with the poor and dispossessed, was a remarkable woman. Born into great wealth and privilege in Lissadell, Sligo, Ireland, she is most famous for her leadership role in the Irish Easter Rebellion of 1916 and the subsequent revolutionary struggle for freedom in Ireland, for which she risked her life.

Constance Markievicz was the first woman to be elected to Westminster Parliament in London (where she refused to take her seat), and the first to be elected to and serve in Dáil Eireann. She served with distinction as the first female Minister in a modern democracy, having been appointed Minister for Labour at the first meeting of the Dáil in 1919.  Constance was sentenced to death for her part in the Rising, commuted (to her chagrin) to life imprisonment because of her sex, and on her release in 1917 following a general amnesty, served a further five terms of imprisonment.

Constance Gore Booth and Althaea Gyles 1898 Stanley Studios  PC

Constance Gore Booth with Althea Giles in London, January 1898

Madame de Markievicz, as she was known by the poor of Dublin, established and operated a soup kitchen from the headquarters of the ITGWU at Liberty Hall during the great Lock Out of 1913 organised by Jim Larkin. She herself collected and delivered bags of turf, which she brought into Dublin in her car from the Dublin mountains.She was regularly seen hauling heavy bags of fuel up flights of stairs in back street tenement houses, where so many of the poorest people in Dublin eked out a mere survival.

In June 1927 Constance fell seriously ill.  She was admitted to a public ward in Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital (at her own insistence). She had peritonitis, and although she had surgery, it was too late. Constance Markievicz died at 1:25 a.m. on the morning of 15th July, 1927. She was attended by her husband, Casimir. Her brother, Sir Josslyn Gore Booth, had received daily bulletins from the Matron, and immediately arranged to attend the funeral in Dublin.

Josslyn would have preferred a private, family funeral, but this was not to be. In death Constance Markievicz was even  more openly appreciated and acclaimed than in life. Three hundred thousand people attended the funeral to pay tribute to “the friend of the toiler, the lover of the poor”, the words of Eamon de Valera, who delivered the funeral oration, and with whom she had founded the Fianna Fáil Party.

Constance with dog

The story of Constance, Countess Markievicz, is a story of a woman of determination, independence, idealism and self-sacrifice in pursuit of freedom for the Irish people.  It is the story of a woman who continues to inspire.


80p :: New Media Specialists
The Lissadell Estate is the family home of Edward S. Walsh and his wife Constance Cassidy with their seven young children ranging in age from 13 years to 3 years. Our objective As the owners of this remarkable part of Ireland's history and culture, our objective is to ensure that you will have a pleasant and memorable visit. A century has passed since Lissadell was home to a large family of young children. More than a century has passed since the rooms were last refurbished. This is a new beginning for Lissadell. The restoration of the house and grounds will take some time and we ask you to be patient. We look forward to seeing you again and again as work progresses. Many of you, your parents or grandparents will have special memories of Lissadell - why not write and tell us about these, to add to our living history? Future plans We plan to restore this national treasure as a family home, and to involve the children in continuing the legacy, and reverse the decline of past years. In particular, we plan to restore and recreate the flower and pleasure gardens, the Alpine nurseries, the orchards, the vegetable gardens; and to reintroduce livestock (Kerry cows, pigs). We hope to make the house and gardens a wonderful experience for visitors. Our open days encourage people to walk back in time to when Lissadell was the pride of Irish horticulture; to enjoy guided tours of the wonderful woodland walks recently uncovered; the unique Alpine Garden with its revêtment walls, terraces, ornamental ponds and fossilised rocks and pathways, and the regeneration of long buried plants and flowers within this magical setting; and the precisely squared upper walled in garden with its orchards. The Lissadell Estate is a private family home. Access to any part of the Estate is strictly by permission only. Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy Restoration The restoration of Lissadell has commenced. The project will take some three to five years during the course of which it is our intention to restore the Mansion and each of the various buildings on the estate, including the forge and gasometer, to their original state. A particular focus will be the restoration of the gardens and woodlands to their former glory. A conservation plan has been prepared by David Clarke, Architect of Moloney O'Beirne, assisted by Paul Arnold, Historical Consultant. Considerable progress has been achieved with the assistance and expert advice of Laurence Manogue, consultant to Sligo County Council who have been extremely supportive and helpful. David Skinner, expert on wallpapers of the great houses of Ireland, is replacing the original wallpapers with hand blocked period copies. The major task of restoring the gasoliers was undertaken by internationally renowned Windsor House Antiques of London led by Kevin Smith. The great hall is kept warm by a meticulously restored 1890's Danish Crown salon stove provided by Tom Keane of Ovne Stoves of Cork. The intricate paintwork has been executed by Nathaniel Clements. Dermot Gale and Rose Cronin have skilfully restored and framed the works of Yeats, Constance, Eva and Casimir and the photographic records of the arctic exploits of Leigh Smith and Henry Gore Booth. Mary Healy has accomplished all photographic restoration. The Website has been developed by 80p Web Development - New Media Specialists, 80project Design Systems,, specialists in graphic design, website development and design, content management systems, corporate logo identification and corporate presentations, desktop publishing and print brochures, marketing, advertising.