Now that some of the Women of 1916 have been highlighted, it’s time to move on to another group that has been largely left out of the history books when it comes to The Easter Rising. Many brave rebels are celebrated throughout the world every year at this time…but what is ignored by most is that the fighters were not exclusively Irish. There were more than a hundred foreign soldiers who assisted in the Rising and while some were 2nd or 3rd generation Irish there were others who had no Irish blood whatsoever. They came from all over Europe and the rest of the world to join forces against the English and were some of the fiercest warriors in the conflict.
Margaret Skinnider was a woman who should have died long before she did, but like a cat with nine lives she nearly always landed on her feet. She did not die while learning to shoot weapons and build bombs in her home town of Glasgow. She did not have a fatal accident while smuggling explosives under her hat and detonators under her dress from Scotland to Ireland in 1915. She did not blow herself up while spending many afternoons testing dynamite in the hills around Dublin and she was not killed while acting as a courier between rebel outposts during the Easter Rising of 1916. On the contrary, between delivery missions on her bicycle, she joined the men on a roof over Stephen’s Green with a rifle and took her own deadly aim. She was proud of her sniper abilities and famously said, “More than once I saw the man I aimed at fall.”