Doing My Bit for Ireland


Margaret Skinnider (circa 1893‒1971) was born in Scotland to Irish parents. She trained as a teacher and taught mathematics in Glasgow, Scotland, before resigning her position to go to Dublin to take part in the Easter Rising of April 1916. Skinnider’s Doing My Bit for Ireland, published in the United States in 1917, is her account of her revolutionary activities in 1915 and 1916. She begins by telling the story of her first trip to Dublin, in 1915, when she smuggled detonators for bombs into Ireland for use by the nationalists. This is followed by a more extensive narrative of her role in the Easter Rising. Skinnider carried ammunition, served as a dispatch rider, and was a sniper. After spending seven weeks in the hospital recovering from three gunshot wounds suffered in the uprising, she managed to avoid arrest and to make her way back to Glasgow. During a brief return to Ireland in August 1916, she was trailed by a detective and fled to the United States, where in 1917‒18 she campaigned for the cause of Irish independence. The book is illustrated and contains, in addition to Skinnider’s narrative, facsimile copies of important documents relating to the events of April 1916, including the proclamation of an Irish republic by the provisional government, stamps issued by the republic during its brief existence, the last proclamation issued by Padraic Pearse, president of the republic, and Pearse’s surrender document of April 29, 1916. The book concludes with the lyrics to the songs sung by Irish volunteers before and after the Easter Rising. After her stay in the United States, Skinnider returned to Ireland and was active in the Cummann na mBan, the women’s auxiliary to the Irish Republican Army.

Last updated: April 25, 2016