Miss Connolly

‘She was a very live wire. She was particularly active during that period’ Margaret Loo Kennedy. MSP34REF3977 

Bridget (also known as Breege or Bríd) Connolly was born in Friarstown County Carlow on 23 May 1890. Her parents were Peter Connolly and Elizabeth Gaynor. Her father Peter was listed as a labourer.  By 1911 the family had moved to Dublin, the family lived in Kilmore, Artane. Bridget was working as a school mistress. 

She was a member of Central Branch of Cumann na mBan which she joined in 1915. She took part in the 1916 Rising. She was as a courier between the GPO and the Four Courts. PH Pearse asked her on Friday of Easter Week to take charge of the women that had been in the GPO and lead them to safety. She was briefly arrested and held in Broadstone Station. MSP34REF3977 

Following Easter Week she searched the hospital and wrote to anyone who thought could help to find the whereabouts of Paddy Shortis. She had been his girlfriend. He had been killed in the retreat from the GPO.  See: Mná 1916-2016 for images.

She became a Captain in Cumann na mBan in 1919. Secretary of the Branch from 1920. Following the Rising she stored guns, and was involved in the transport of weapons. She was active in Anti-Conscription. She secured safe houses and was involved in the fund raising and looking after dependants of those imprisoned. She was a clerk in the Dáil Courts – the Coolock and Raheny District Courts 1920-1922. She was organising secretary to Sinn Féin in North County Dublin from 1918-1923. She was involved in carrying messages for Michael Collins. MSP34REF3977

She became a member of the Executive of Cumann na mBan in October 1921. She was appointed at the Convention. 

She established a branch of Cumann na mBan in Portrane. She was involved in reorganisation in Skerries, and inspected branches in Laois and Offaly during this period. She also established a camp in Artane during the Truce period. MSP34REF3977

She was Anti-Treaty. Following the attack on Four Courts she was attached to the post at Barry’s Hotel and Tara Hall. She rendered first aid under fire. She purchased weapons and was involved in the supply and transportation of them and also involved in communications. She undertook the distribution of messages throughout Ireland.  She was on the run during this period.

She was arrested in March 1923 and imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail. She was transferred to the North Dublin Union. She was prison Adjutant. She underwent two hunger-strikes. She was one of the last female prisoners released in November 1923.  MSP34REF3977

Bridget remained unmarried. In her later years she lived in Whitehall. She died on 15 November 1981. She is buried in the Connolly family plot in Grange, Co Carlow.