Queer rebel women of Irish Revolution highlighted in new TG4 documentary

Featuring figures such as Dr Kathleen Lynn and Elizabeth O'Farrell, the new documentary will expose the queer women of the Irish Revolution.

A scene from the new documentary about queer women of the Irish Revolution. The image shows a women standing in front of three other people. They are all wearing clothing from the 1910s. She is wearing an Irish military uniform of emerald green and holding a rifle in her two hands.
Image: TG4

A brand new TG4 documentary, set to air on December 6, will highlight the radical queer women at the very heart of the Irish Revolution.

Directed by Ciara Hyland, Croíthe Radacacha (Radical Hearts) is a feature documentary that explores the hidden stories of eight female couples who were at the core of the Easter Rising and the fight to free Ireland from the British Empire.

Based on groundbreaking research by historian and National LGBT Foundation (NXF) board member Dr Mary McAuliffe, these women’s relationships have largely remained unexamined, denied and hidden from history until now.

Focusing on revolutionary women such as Kathleen Lynn, Margaret Skinnider, Elizabeth O’Farrell, Eva Gore-Booth and many more, the documentary will reclaim the extraordinary lives they lived and the battles they fought, both personal and political.

Featuring contributions from prominent LGBTQ+ activists and academics such as Ailbhe Smyth, Ciara Ní É and Eoin McEvoy (founders of LGBTQ+ Irish Language group Aerach Aiteach Gaelach), this in-depth exploration promises to refocus how we perceive these women and their contributions to the Irish revolution.

As the blurb for the programme describes, “they were radical in their politics, in their feminism, their socialism and their devotion to freedom and equality. 

“Together they reimagined a new Ireland that would hold a brighter future for all regardless of gender, background or wealth.” 


It also points out that their beliefs and struggles have much in common with today’s activist generation, with both seeking similar demands for equality and an end to discrimination.

The documentary also uncovers what it means to ‘do gay history’; the difficulties of finding evidence of love that by necessity had to fly under the radar, the glimpses we get of how people lived in the past and the burden of proof placed on examining gay relationships. 

Featuring tracks by the Pillow Queens and Elaine Mai, who contributed to the film because they believed in the message of inclusivity that is at the core of it, Croíthe Radacacha rewrites the contribution of LGBTQ+ people back into the history of the creation of the modern Irish state.


Croíthe Radacacha will air on Wednesday, December 6, at 9:30pm on TG4.

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