Countess Constance Markievicz became actively involved in Ireland’s nationalist politics in 1908. She joined the Daughters of Ireland, a revolutionary women’s movement. She came directly to her first meeting from a function at Dublin Castle, wearing a satin ball-gown and a diamond tiara. This caused many members to view her with hostility, different than the usual reaction to her being a countess.
Markievicz joined the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) in 1913, where during a work lock-out, she recruited kitchen volunteers and distributed food to those in need. She also ran a soup kitchen to feed poor school children. As she paid for the food herself, she took out many loans and sold all her jewelry. Being an active member of the ICA, she designed the Citizen Army uniform and composed its anthem for the 1916 Rising.
She fought in St. Stephen’s Green, where one account claims that on Easter Monday, she shot and killed a member of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. She supervised the barricades that were set on Easter Monday.
After the surrender, Markievicz was transported to Kilmainham Gaol. Out of 70 women prisoners, she was the only one put into solitary confinement.
Attributed to her was the following: “Dress suitably in short skirts and strong boots, leave your jewels in the bank and buy a revolver.”