MISSOULA – Micheline Sheehy Skeffington – the granddaughter of prominent Irish nationalist, feminist and suffragist Hanna Sheehy Skeffington – will deliver a lecture at the University of Montana this month celebrating the 100th anniversary of her grandmother’s tour of America in 1917.
Micheline Skeffington, a plant ecologist at the National University of Ireland, Galway, will talk about her grandmother’s fight for justice for both her husband and Ireland.
The lecture is at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, in Turner Hall’s Dell Brown Room on the UM campus. She also will deliver a speech in Butte at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the Butte-Silver Bow Archives, located at 17 W. Quartz St. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
Although not involved in Ireland’s Easter Rising, Hanna’s husband, Francis, a committed pacifist, was murdered by a British firing squad. After being denied justice by the British government and refusing a sizeable payment for her silence, she brought her case against English rule in Ireland to America’s court of public opinion.
She toured from coast to coast for 18 months, gave 250 speeches, received a rousing reception in Montana and met President Woodrow Wilson – the only Irish rebel to do so.
John Devoy, leader of Clan na Gael, the largest Irish American nationalist organization of the time, claimed Skeffington’s tour of America did “more real good for the cause of Ireland than all the Irish orators and writers over the past 25 years.”
On the 100th anniversary of that tour, Micheline’s talks serve as timely reminders of the critical role the Irish of America played in winning independence for Ireland.
The lectures are sponsored by UM’s Irish Studies program, the Butte-Silver Bow Archives, the Friends of Irish Studies, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the generosity of Sam and Julie Baldridge.
For more information, call Traolach Ó Ríordáin, UM Irish Studies program director, at 406-243-6359, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.