Identity Statement for Eithne Coyle O’Donnell

  • Reference code: IE UCDA P61
  • Title: Papers of Eithne Coyle O’Donnell (1897–1985)
  • Dates: 1916–78
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 2 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use

Biographical History

Born near Falcarragh, County Donegal, into a farming family with strong republican sympathies, her brother Donal was a Commandant in the 1st Northern Division of the Volunteers/IRA. She joined Cumann na mBan in 1918, carried arms and acted as a courier and was eventually arrested organising in county Roscommon. Sentenced to one year in prison under the Defence of the Realm Act in January 1921, she escaped from Mountjoy Jail in October with three others including Linda Kearns. Anti-Treaty, she was arrested in November 1922 and interned until late the following year. She was elected President of Cumann na mBan in 1926. She married Bernard O’Donnell, an IRA activist from Donegal, in 1935.

Archival History

This collection was deposited in UCD Archives by Eithne Coyle O'Donnell's son, Father Christopher O'Donnell, and her daughter, Sister Máire O'Donnell, in 1982.


Scope and Content

President, Cumann na mBan: organisational documents and correspondence with members including Mary MacSwiney and Gobnait Ní Brúadair (1931–40). Material relating to the proposed history of the organisation (1970s) including accounts by Eithne Coyle O’Donnell of her own involvement, and replies from members to questionnaires documenting their membership and experiences.

Material in support of her application for a military service pension, documenting her national record in the period 1919–21 (1945). Copies of addresses, lectures, letters to the press, and personal memorabilia (1916–73).

Press cuttings (1922–73), pamphlets (1918–50), photographs (1922–23) and autograph album from the North Dublin Union (1923).

  • Access: Available by appointment to holders of a UCD Archives reader's ticket. Produced for consultation in digital format.
  • Language: English
  • Finding aid: Descriptive catalogue
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