Commemorating A Sufragette Protest

Greystones will play host on 25th October to the commemoration of a significant if almost forgotten event which took place on that day in 1910 at Greystones pier – a suffragette protest.

On the morning of 25th October 1910, the Irish Chief Secretary was on a tour of the dilapidated pier at Greystones in the company of local dignitaries when he was accosted by two leaders of the Irish suffragette movement, Hilda Webb and Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, who proceeded to demand votes for women.

The campaign for votes for women, which had begun a half century earlier, had intensified in Ireland with the establishment of the Irish Women’s Franchise League (IWFL). The IWFL was impatient with the slow progress of the campaign and was willing to use ‘non constitutional’ methods in its demand for the vote.

Being one of the first such protests nationally, the incident was reported by “The Irish Times” as no more than an “amusing scene”, however it has since come to be recognised as a pivotal part of the early Irish suffragette campaign.  It wasn’t until eight years later that the “Representation of the People Act 1918” gave women over 30 the right to vote in a general election.

All are welcome to Greystones Harbour at 11.00 am on Thursday, October 25th, where Greystones Archaeological and Historical Society in association with Greystones Municipal District and Wicklow County Council will host an event which will include the unveiling of a commemoration plaque and a re-enactment of the incident by pupils of St Brigid’s National  School.  Refreshments will be served afterwards in nearby Greystones Ridge Angling club.

Read more about this incident in an article on this website ‘The Suffragettes and the Chief Secretary – An Amusing Scene on Greystones Pier’ by Rosemary Raughter of the Greystones Archaeological & Historical Society. Visit  “Our Wicklow Women” on this website to find out more.

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