About me


The Commemorations Unit
Joyce House
8-11 Lombard Street East
Dublin 2

Phone number

085 8775706


Sinéad McCoole is the author of many books including Hazel, A Life of Lady Lavery (1996) and No Ordinary Women (1997) and Easter Widows, the untold story of the wives of the executed leaders (2014) and Women 1916-Mná 2016 (2017). She is a member of the Government's Expert Advisory Group on the Decade of Centenaries (2012-to date). She was Historical Advisor to the 2016 National Commemoration Programme, Curator of Mná 1916. She has curated exhibitions on Irish history & art in both Ireland and the U.S. A Broadcaster and script writer her work includes Guns and Chiffon (2003) and A Father's Letter part of the After '16 Irish Film Board shorts commissioned for the centenary was based on her interviews with Fr. Joe Mallin (1913-2018).

Areas of expertise

Modern Irish History from the 1880 to the present, Material culture, museums, the history of Irish women, child prisoners, Sir John and Lady Lavery. She is an expert in the area of women's imprisonment 1916-1923. Her current area of interest is women in politics and public life 1918-2018.


Irish women material culture Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921 campaign for independence Jackie Clarke Collection 1617-2000 child prisoners women prisoners 1916 Rising campaign of independence Irish civil war.Irish Republicanism

Member Details

Full Name

Sinéad McCoole (Professional Historian)

Membership Type

Professional Historian



National University of Ireland, University College Dublin
BA (Hons) History and History of Art (1990)

National University of Ireland, University College Dublin
M.A. Modern Irish History (1992).

M.A. Thesis: Lady Lavery, Her Salon, and its role in the Emergence of the Irish Free State. (1992).
Supervisors: Dr Alvin Jackson and Dr Michael Laffan.
University College Dublin Campus Company Development Programme (1999-2000)
Outcome: the creation of RE:SEARCH a historical & picture research agency. (2000-2005)



December 2016 to date.

Historian and Curator, Commemorations Unit, (Seconded full-time) Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Government of Ireland.

Ongoing work involves

Researching content, both material and visual, for a ‘pop up museum’. Seeking out original archives of the 114 women in politics and public life in Ireland 1918-2018 on the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Interviewing descendants of former parliamentarians and retired parliamentarians – forming an filmed oral archive as well as producing material for the exhibition.

Outcomes: Women in Politics and Public Life 1918-2018 (a pop-up women’s museum) will be the centre-piece of the Government’s Centenary Programme 2018 opening at Dublin Castle, Coach House October 2018-January 2019.
June 2015 – December 2016:

Historical & Curatorial Advisor, National Commemoration Programme, 2016, Government of Ireland. (Partial Secondment, 4 days a week).

Curator of Mná 1916 – Women 1916 (2016) the National Centenary Exhibition on the role of women in the Rising on behalf of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht Regional and Rural Affairs.

Exhibition at Dublin Castle, Coach House, April 14 April-4 May. Thereafter it was made available to local authorities. The nationwide tour included: Cork, (St Peter's), Waterford Central Library, Galway (NUIG), Cavan County Library, Tipperary County Council Offices, Nenagh, Dundalk Library, County Louth and the County Museum in Donegal. As well as a smaller version made available to Wicklow County Council, Arklow Library, the Department Headquarters in Killarney, Co. Kerry and Dublin City University. It was on display in the Embassy in Washington DC as well as in Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. As part of the national commemoration programme I conducted a series of lectures in each of the regional venues.

Consultancy work

Content co-ordinator and Historical Advisor:
visual material for the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade 2016 Exhibition: (2016). Ireland Rising http://www.Ireland2016

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade 2016 Exhibition: (2016). Exhibited in Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Austin, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Canberra, Chicago, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Melbourne, New Delhi, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Perth, Seoul, Singapore, Strasbourg, Sydney, Washington DC and Warsaw.
‘Dublin Rising 1916-2016, (2016), http://www.dublinrising.withgoogle.com

‘The Department – 1916 Exhibition’ (2016) Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Kildare Street.

Curatorial Advisor, Writer, Contributor: The Rotunda Hospital: ‘Birth of a Nation’ (2016) History of staff and patients in the hospital at the time of the Rising. The Rotunda Hospital. March-April. Virtual tour http://www.birthofanation.net


McCoole, S. (2017 & 2010) Visiting Lecturer, St. Thomas University, Houston, Texas. October.

McCoole, S (2007-2009) Visiting lecturer on Historical and Picture Research. MA in Writing (Literature and Publishing) Speakers Series, NUI Galway. [Illustrated Lecture] Course code:GYA46

Committees & Associations

2016 to date: Ex-officio member of Vótáil100, Committee.

2012-to date. The Government of Ireland's Expert Advisory Group on The Decade of Centenaries.

2003-2005 Board of Visitors of Kilmainham Gaol.

Other activities


McCoole, S. (2003) Facts about Ireland, the Government of Ireland, Information Section, Department of Foreign Affairs.
ISBN 0-906404-28-2.

McCoole, S. (2004) Brockie, G and Walsh, R. Modern Ireland. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.[School History book for Senior Cycle, Leaving Certificate State Examination Sylabus]
ISBN: 0717135160 ISBN13:9780717135165


McCoole, S. (2003) The Encyclopaedia of Ireland, Yale University Press in association with Gill & Macmillan.
ISBN 0-300-09442-6.


A Father’s Letter (2016) Joe Dolan [Film] Irish Film Board Shorts. ‘After 16' Series. Concept based on a series of interviews conducted by Sinéad McCoole (2009 and 2015) with Fr. Joe Mallin S.J., (1913-) son of Michael Mallin, executed in 1916.

Script, Adaption, Content and Visual Researcher: Hidden History: Guns and Chiffon (2003) Geraldine Creed. [TV] Dublin Paradox Films.

Script Writer, Visual and Content Researcher: Life and Times of Lady Gregory (1998- to date) Dúchas, The Heritage Service. [Audiovisual Presentation] for Coole Park, Galway.

Who Is She? (1996) Script Writer, Visual and Content Researcher Historical Advisor, RTE. [TV]

Women of 1916 (1997) Script Writer, Visual and Content Researcher
Series of five short films.
Countess Markievicz, March 27.
Grace Gifford, March 28.
Maud Gonne MacBride, March 29.
Dr. Kathleen Lynn, March 30.
Women of 1916, March 31.

Reworked as Take Two: Women of 1916. (2006). A Series of Portraits of women involved in the Easter Rising of 1916, presented by Sinéad McCoole..




McCoole, S. (2018). Mná: Women of 1916. Dublin: The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. ISBN 978-1-4064-2975-6, pp103. [Author and Curator]. It is currently being distributed to schools, libraries and Members of the Oireachtas. Also a limited number available at Government Publications 2018.

McCoole, S. (2003) No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years 1900-1923. Dublin: O’Brien Press, pp288.
ISBN 0-86278-813-7 (cloth) ISBN 0-86278-883-8. (paper)
University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-19500-7 (cloth). McCoole, S. Reissued in 2008 and in 2015 with additional biographies and a new introduction.

McCoole, S. (1996, 2015) Hazel, A Life of Lady Lavery. Dublin: The Lilliput Press. ISBN 978 1843 516 439.

McCoole, S. (2014) Easter Widows. Dublin: Doubleday Ireland.
ISBN 9781781620229, pp447.
Re-issued as a trade paperback (2015)
ISBN 9781781620236. pp444.

McCoole, S. (2000) Researcher’s Handbook: Sources for Twentieth Century Irish History. Dublin: Limerick Corporation, pp.51. ISBN 0-905700-12- 0. [Distributed as a free teaching resource book to every school in the country].

McCoole,S. (1997, 1998 and 2000) Guns and Chiffon, Women Revolutionaries and Kilmainham Gaol, pp. 70. Dublin: The Heritage Service. The Department of Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands. ISBN 9780707 638706


Island: Drawing Conclusions, Mapping the Irish. (2012). Dublin: Mayo County Council’s Jackie Clarke Collection, pp.48.
[Curator of Island: Drawing Conclusions, Mapping the Irish. (2012). Jackie Clarke Collection, the American Irish Historical Society, Linenhall Library, Belfast and Norman B Leventhal Map Centre, Boston Public Library. June-July. Irish Historical Society, 911, Fifth Ave, New Yor. 12 June-12 July. In association with the New York New Belfast Conference 2012.]

Crossings. (2011) Castlebar: Jackie Clarke Collection, Mayo County Council. pp. 29.
[Crossings exhibition was on in the American Irish Historical Society, 911 Fifth Avenue, New York February-March. Part of Culture Ireland's Imagine Ireland Programme. Drew University, Irish Studies Students conducted educational tours. 23 February-11 March 2011.]

Re-issued in 2013 with amendments when Crossing was on show at the Jackie Clarke Collection as part of The North Mayo Gathering.

McCoole. S. (2010) Passion and Politics – Sir John Lavery: The Salon Revisited. Dublin: Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, pp.128. ISBN 978-1-901702-35-4. [Exhibition Catalogue, Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane. July-October 2010.]

McCoole, S. (1996) Hazel, Lady Lavery, Society and Politics. Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art 18 September – 3 November 1996,pp.215-226. In McCoole, S. (1996) Hazel, A Life of Lady Lavery, pp 242. Dublin: The Lilliput Press. ISBN 1-874675-84 8 (cloth) and 1-874675-55-4 (paper). [Exhibition Catalogue, is included at end of first edition]


McCoole, S. (2007). Mollie Gill: From Cuala Girl to Revolutionary Woman. John J Burns Library, Boston College. Maryland: The Wild Apple Press, pp.10. [Limited Edition of 50 copies]

McCoole, S. (2008) Sixty Years of the Cuala Press. To accompany an exhibition 'Sixty Years of the Cuala Press: A Collaboration of the Yeats Family and Mollie Gill' at the John J. Burns Library Boston College. Maryland: The Wild Apple Press, pp.6. [Limited Edition of 50 copies].

Book Chapters

McCoole, S. (2017) 'Mollie Gill', in Remarkable Lives the Wild Apple Press Compendium of Irish Biography. Dublin: Associated Editions.
Pp105-115. ISBN 978-I-906429-28-7.

McCoole, S. (2016) 'Women were among the chief sufferers in the ensuing conflict', in McGreevy, R. Was it for this? Dublin: Irish Times Books.
ISBN-978-0 9070-1152-1.

McCoole S. (2016) ‘The Rise of Mná na hÉireann, pp53-57 in Naughton, Celine. (2015-2016) My 1916, What the Easter Rising Means to Me. ISBN: 978-0-9935157-3-6

McCoole, S. (2010) ‘Custodians of Material Culture’, in Verling , E., Hughes, R. (eds.) The Legacy of Belief: A Community Response to History. Sligo: Sligo Arts Service, p.59-63.
ISBN 0-95-397047-7.

McCoole, S. (2004) ‘The Herbert Family’, in Larner, J. (ed.) Killarney, History and Heritage. Cork: Collins Press, pp. 90-104.
ISBN 1-903464-55-2.

Other Journals


McCoole, S. (2008) ‘Source Material – leads to looking afresh at the past – lifelong learning and Irish Museums’ in Proceedings of the Symposium & Roundtable, Museums, Galleries & Lifelong Learning. Are Museums Doing Enough to Attract Older Audiences? Are Older People Doing Enough for Museums? Dublin: National Gallery of Ireland, pp.54-61. ISBN 978-1-904288-28-2.

McCoole, S. (2001) ‘Women of 1916’, in Cross-Border Reflections on 1916, Drogheda-Shankill Partnership Dublin Second Joint Conference, 27th-29th April. Dublin: Island Pamphlet, 38, pp.13-18.
ISBN 1-899510-29-X.
McCoole, S. (2010) ‘Ireland’s Memory, the Jackie Clarke Library’, The Recorder: The Journal of the American Irish Historical Society. 22(2), pp.115-119. [Article]

McCoole, S. (2009) ‘Philanthropy, History and Heritage’, History Ireland, 17(3), pp. 10-11. [Article]

McCoole, S. (2006) ‘Women’s Contribution in the Early Twentieth Century Ireland’, Blackrock Society Proceedings, 14, pp. 4-12. [Article]

McCoole, S. (2005) ‘Mollie Gill 1891-1977, A Woman of Ireland’,
History Ireland, 13 (2), pp.10-11. [Article]

McCoole, S. (2000) A Family in the Phelan Room, Rothe House, Kilkenny,Old Kilkenny Review, pp.156-162. [Article]

Electronic Publications

McCoole, S. (2015) Women of the Rising: Activists, Fighters & Widow
Century Ireland
Available at:

McCoole, S. (2006) The Liberty Project – Seven Women of the Labour Party for Labour Women.
Available at: https://www.labour.ie

McCoole, S. (2006) 'Dr. Kathleen Lynn.' Mayo People. http://www.mayolibrary.ie/en/LocalStudies/MayoPeople/MayoPeopleF-M/KathleenLynn/

McCoole, S. (2005) Online Exhibition on Women of the Dún Laoighaire-Rathdown region: Gone but not Forgotten: local women of the last century who made history. For Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County library
Available at: http://www.sineadmccoole.com/gonebutnotforgotten/

McCoole, S. (2016)'Mná 1916 – Women of 1916, Heritage Ireland, 1916 Commemorations. Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Issue 4. Summer 2016. pp50-54. [E-zine]

McCoole, S. (2016) Women Mean Business 'Women Workers and the 1916 Rising.' Part I 18 March & 23 March Part II [E-zine] http://www.womenmeanbusiness.com

Letters of 1916 Twitter chat on women of the 1916 period. On behalf of Letters of 1916. Susan Schreibman Professor of Digital Humanities, Foras Feasa, NUI Maynooth.


McCoole, S. (2017) Review of Dr. Margaret MacCurtain, Ambassador Extraordinaire: Life of Daniel O'Daly 1595-1662. The Irish Times. 2 September.

McCoole, S. (2017) Lindie Naughton Countess Markievicz: A Most Outrageous Rebel, Merrion Press, 2016 330pp. [Book Review]

McCoole, S. (2017) Review of Valerie Jones, Rebel Prods, the Forgotten story of Protestant Radical Nationalism and the 1916 Rising. History Ireland, July.

McCoole, S. (2016) Review of ‘Artist O’Dea commerates the fallen, literally the experience of the foggy dew will stay with you for ever’. 13 Sept. Connaught Telegraph.

McCoole, S. (2009) 'Cork Queen of Paraquay.' The Irish Times. 3 October.

McCoole, S. (2007) 'Edging towards equality.' Review of 'Irish Women and the Vote: Becoming Citizens.' Edited by Louise Ryan and Margaret Ward. Irish Academic Press. The Irish Times. 29 September.

McCoole, S. (2006) 'Cesca: the diary of a beautiful, radical artist.' Review of Hilary Pyle Cesca's Diary 1913-1916: When Art and Nationalism Meet. Village Magazine. 24-30 November. p53.


McCoole, S. (2017) ‘08.03.2016 Sinéad McCoole’ [Personal reflection on 2016] in McGreevy R (Ed) Comóradh Céad Bliain/Centenary: Tugann Éire 1916 chun cuimhne/Ireland Remembers 1916. Dublin: Government Publications/Royal Irish Academy. p.87-91
ISBN –978-1-4064-2943-5

McCoole, S. (2009) ‘In a Garden,’ [Lady Gregory’s grand-children garden at Coole] in Heaney, M. (ed.) A Treasury of Sunday Miscellany. Dublin: New Island, pp.126-129.
ISBN 978-1-84840-050-4.

McCoole, S. (2006) ‘In a Garden’, [Lady Gregory’s grand-children garden at Coole] in Ni Anluain, C. (ed.) Sunday Miscellany, A Selection from 2004-2006, Dublin: New Island, pp. 319-321.
ISBN 1-905494-13-0.

McCoole, S. (2004) ‘Marriage by Candlelight’, [the marriage of Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford] in Heaney, M. (ed.) Sunday Miscellany A Selection from 2003 and 2004. Dublin: Town House, pp.205-207.
ISBN 1-86059-230-9.

McCoole, S. (2001) ‘Life for Poor Children in Ireland 1796-1910.’ , in Hard Lessons: the Child Prisoners of Kilmainham Gaol. Dublin: Nicholson & Bass, pp.14-25.


O’Sullivan, N. (2007) Every Dark Hour. Dublin: Liberties Press, pp.7-8. ISBN 978-1-905483-21-1.
Cowell, J. (2005) A Noontime Blazing Brigid Lyons Thornton Rebel, Soldier, Doctor. Dublin: Currach Press. pp. 9-10. ISBN 1-85607-918-X

Ryan, L., Ward, M. (2004) Irish Women and Nationalism, Soldiers, New Women and Wicked Hags. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, pp. vii-viii.
ISBN 0-7163-2766-9 (cloth) and 0-7165-2767-7 (paper).


McCoole, S. (2016) ‘Courting Controversy John Lavery and the Court of Criminal Appeal’, in O’Donnell, J. (ed.) Artist as Witness in Society. Roger Casement: High Treason. Dublin: Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, pp.17-23.
ISBN 978-1-901702-46-0.

McCoole, S. (2016) ‘Kathleen Lynn of Mayo: A Brave and Wise Soul’ in Dr Kathleen Lynn – Insider on the Outside'. Castlebar: Mayo Arts Collaborative, pp.2-4. http://www.kathleenlynn.net

McCoole, S. (2016) ‘What Katie Did’, in Paper Bloom Katie Moore. Ballina: Mayo County Council, pp.11-13.

McCoole, S. (1999) ‘A Nineteenth Century Lady’ , in FitzGerald, T. (ed.) Mary Herbert of Muckross House 1817-1893. Dublin: Nicholson & Bass, pp.17-23. ISBN 0-900903-84-8

Opinion Piece
McCoole, S. (2016) An Irishwoman’s Diary on Barbara Retz, the mystery woman of the Rising. The Irish Times. 7 June.

McCoole, S. (2016) 'Kathleen, An Unlikely Candidate for Revolutionary Politics' Connaught Telegraph. 1916 Centenary Supplement. 19 April.

McCoole, S. (2016) ‘Nursing the wounds of the Easter Rising’ The Irish Times. 25 March. [opinion piece]

McCoole, S. (2016)’ Seven women who played a key part in 1916 and beyond, impacting on society.’ The Examiner. 22 February. [Opinion piece]

McCoole, S. (2016) ‘Why has it taken so long to recognize the role of women in 1916?'. The Irish Times. 13 January. [Opinion piece]

McCoole, S. (2016) 'Women of the Rising'. People, Places, Events. 1916-2016. A Guide to the Centenary. 13 January. [Opinion Piece]

McCoole, S. (2006) 12 Defining Moments in Irish History – No Woman at the Cabinet Table from the 1st to 21st Dáil. Sunday Business Post. 24 December. [Opinion Piece]

Dolan, P and McCoole, S. (2006) ‘Time for us to deliver on children’s rights.’ The Irish Times. 4 October. [Opinion Piece]

McCoole, S. (2006) 'Women were among the chief sufferers in the ensuing conflict.' The Irish Times. 14 April. [Opinion Piece]

McCoole, S. (2000) 'The heroic wives who were left behind in 1916.' Sunday Independent. Overnight, the wives of the 1916 leaders became public figures in a turbulent Ireland. 23April. [Opinion Piece]

McCoole, S. (1997) 'Guns and Chiffon – Women in the War of Independence.' Sunday Independent. 25 May. [Opinion Piece]

McCoole, S. (1997) 'The Foundation of the Irish Free State – The Women's Story.' Dúchas, the Newsletter of the Irish American Cultural Institute.' Samhradh, Vol XXV, No 2. [Opinion Piece]