Johanna Sheehy was born in Kanturk County Cork in 1877. Her father was a nationalist MP for South Galway. David Sheehy was imprisoned many times for his part in the Land War. Hanna was educated in Eccles St, Dublin. She later went on to St Mary’s University obtaining her degree from the Royal University of Ireland.
In 1920, she achieved a first class honours MA. She became a teacher in Eccles St and later taught French and German in Rathmines College of Commerce. In 1903 she married Francis Skeffington, a university registrar, Francis was totally committed to equality and, very unusually for the time, took Hanna’s surname.
In 1912, she and her husband founded the Irish Citizen.
During the Rising, Hanna brought food to the different outposts and Frank tried to set up a citizen’s militia to stop looting. He was arrested by the British authorities and shot on the orders of Captain Bowen-Colthurst. Bowen-Colthurst was found ‘guilty but insane’ at his court martial. Hanna refused the compensation and insisted on an inquiry into his death.
At the end of 1916 Hanna travelled to the US and spoke at 250 meetings across the continent. Her tour raised $40,000, which was handed over to Michael Collins. Forbidden by the Government to return to Ireland Hanna smuggled herself in via Liverpool in 1918, but she was soon detained and imprisoned in Holloway Jail along with Kathleen Clarke, Maude Gonne and Countess Markievicz. During the War of Independence, she was active in Sinn Féin. In 1920 she was elected to Dublin Corporation.
1926 Hanna supported Eamon de Valera during the Sinn Féin split and joined Fianna Fáil.
Hanna died on Easter Saturday, 20 April 1946.
She really deserves to be looked up if you have read this far as her life and achievements deserve a website onto themselves. The images are part of a series of works entitled ‘Something to Live for’ at Parliament Street, Cork Hill, Dame Street Dublin. 1916 One hundred website