This talk focuses on the lives of Margaret and Mary Brigid Pearse, sisters of Patrick and Willie who were executed for their roles in the Easter Rising of 1916. The Pearse sisters have long been overshadowed by their famous brothers but they too travelled interesting paths in life. Margaret was an Irish language activist, politician and educator, working with Patrick in founding St Enda’s School and taking the school into her own hands following his execution. Mary Brigid was a musician, teacher, actress and author of short stories, children’s stories, and dramas, but did not agree with her family’s political activism. Margaret and Mary Brigid never enjoyed a close relationship like Patrick and Willie; however, they both shared a deep affection for their brothers. The talk illuminates Margaret and Mary Brigid’s relationship with their brothers, but also the poignant disintegration of their own relationship following the death of their mother in 1932.
Teresa and Mary Louise O’Donnell are harpists and musicologists who have performed extensively throughout Ireland, Europe, Africa and Asia, and have appeared on BBC, RTÉ, CNN and NHK (Japan). They began their harp studies with the late Sr. Eugene McCabe at Mount Sackville School, Dublin and later studied with the renowned French harpist Sebastien Lipman, and attended masterclasses with Professor Witsenberg and Han Ann Liu. They are both Musicians-in-Residence with Fingal County Council. They have just completed the recording of an album of music for the Irish harp by Brian Boydell, entitled, Heavenly Harps, Heavenly Cloths.