Kilmainham Gaol text Collection title

Aine Ceannt

Biography

Frances Mary O’Brennan first adopted the name Proinseas, and later Áine, Ní Bhraonáin after joining the Gaelic League, which she described as a “Mecca” for young Irish people. It was in this organisation that she met Eamonn Ceannt, who she married in June 1905. Along with her sister Elizabeth O’Brennan, Áine was a founding member of Cumann na mBan in April 1914. Her and Eamonn’s house on Dolphin’s Terrace hosted Military Council meetings in advance of the Rising, and she herself was involved in writing and sending dispatches, as well as helping to hide Liam Mellows upon his return to Ireland. After spending Easter Week at Cathal Brugha’s house with her son Ronan, she visited her husband in Kilmainham Gaol on 5th May. She later recalled the experience, describing a “cell with no seating accommodation and no bedding, not even a bed of straw… A sergeant stood at the door while we spoke, and we could say very little…” She saw Eamonn once more before his execution on 8th May. Ceannt continued to be prominent in Cumann na mBan and Sinn Féin circles after the Rising, and her house was raided eleven times during the War of Independence. She took the anti-Treaty side during the Civil War, but was most active in the Sinn Féin peace committee which attempted to resolve the conflict. Despite this, her house was once again a frequent target for raids, this time by the Free State Army. She was committed to humanitarian causes, and served on the executive committees of both the Irish White Cross and Irish Red Cross.

 

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