Plaque to mark the home and business premises of Jennie Wyse Power at 21 Henry Street, put in place in 1991 by the 1916-21 Club.
Jennie Wyse Power operated a restaurant and shop (The Irish Farm Produce Company) at 21 Henry Street. She lived above it. She was a veteran of the nationalist movement, having been involved with the Ladies Land League from 1881, when she was elected a committee member of that organisation. Jennie contested elected office and was a Poor Law Guardian for North Dublin in 1903. She was later involved in the foundation of Sinn Féin.
Her shop became a frequent meeting place for revolutionaries in Dublin. It was here, just prior to the Easter Rising, that the proclamation was signed. Jennie was a close friend of Countess de Markievicz , who frequently wrote to her while imprisoned. In one example, the Countess wrote to her that “I’ve such heaps of money nowadays. Jail is so economical!”
Jennie Wyse Power took the Pro-Treaty side, extremely uncommon within Cumann na mBan, and Cumann na Saoirse became the Pro-Treaty womens movement. It is noted in Cal McCarthy’s account of Cumann na mBan, Cumann na mBan and the Irish Revoltion, that in February 1923 the IRA attempted to burn down the restaurant on Henry Street, angered by the actions of Cumann na Saoirse (Or ‘Cumann na Searchers’ as members of the Anti-Treaty Cumann na mBan termed then). McCarthy notes that by February 1923 they boasted branches in every electoral constituency.
Cumann na mBan was the first national organisation to reject the Anglo Irish Treaty. A resolution, put forward by Mary MacSwiney( sister of Terence MacSwiney, the Cork Lord Mayor who had died on hunger strike) explicity stated that it called on… “The Women of Ireland to support at the forthcoming elections only those candidates who stood through to the existing Republic proclaimed Easter Week, 1916” This resolution was passed by 419 votes to 63. The feeling of the movement was clear.
Jennie Wyse Power became a Senator to the first Seanad of the Irish Free State. She pushed womens issues to the fore in this capacity. Upon her death in January 1941, she was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery following a Mass at University Church, St. Stephen’s Green.
Anne Marreco- The Rebel Countess
Margaret Ward- Unmanageable Revolutionaries
Cal McCarthy- Cumann na mBan and the Irish Revolution
Sinead McCoole- No Ordinary Women
The Irish Times Online Archive