Máire Comerford

Máire Comerford was born in Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow in 1893. Her father James owned Comerford’s flour mill in Rathdrum. When she was 16, her father died, and she was sent by her mother to London to train as a secretary. She returned to Ireland to live with her mother in her uncle T. L. Esmonde’s home in Courtown until her mother rented a house around 1915 in Courtown Harbour and set up a private school in which Máire taught. At the outbreak of the Rising, Máire was on a visit to Dublin and volunteered to assist Countess Markievicz in the College of Surgeons garrison at St Stephen’s Green, but was turned down. She subsequently carried dispatches for the GPO garrison. She took part in the 1918 General Election which saw Sinn Féin win a landslide victory, and carried dispatches for Frank Aiken who was Commander of the IRA’s Fourth Northern Division during the War of Independence. Máire took the republican side in the Civil War and was imprisoned in Mountjoy prison by the Free State authorities. She escaped, was recaptured and went on hunger strike. Following the Civil War, she returned to County Wexford and lived in Mount St Benedict outside Gorey. She worked as a journalist with the Irish Press newspaper from 1935 until her retirement in 1964. A prolific letter writer to newspapers, she published her book The First Dáil in 1969. She died in December 1982 at the age of 92 after a lifetime dedicated to the cause of Irish independence, and is buried in a private cemetery at Mount St Benedict.