March 30, 2022

A War on Women Webpage Banner

Solas Nua's CIFF@Home with NYU DC Dialogues presented, A War on WomenRegistration gave audiene members access to an on-demand film link to view ahead of the live webinar discussion with director Ciara Hyland moderated by Miriam Nyhan Grey, NYU's Global Coordinator for Irish Studies.

Why is it that stories of sexual violence against women have never been part of the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War? For years, Ireland has been seen as being exceptional in that these acts didn’t occur here. But was Ireland really so special? Was the nature of war here so very different from war everywhere else? And did our men really behave so well? This documentary argues that the answer is no.

A different view is slowly coming to light due to the new ground-breaking research from people like historians Mary McAuliffe and Lindsey Earner-Byrne, sociologists Linda Connolly and Louise Ryan and writer-historian Ann Mathews. Taking a fresh look at old sources and new material, they are uncovering many new and previously untold stories of violence against women.

Often these women’s stories were hidden and buried because of shame, fear of being excluded from their communities and because their chances of getting justice were small. Women made up half of the population during the Irish Revolution – yet their experiences as victims of the conflict have been completely overlooked and are missing from the historical narrative.

This program was open to everyone. Registration was required in order to receive access to view the film and to attend this live webinar Q&A discussion. Please note that this live Q&A portion of the program was recorded. 

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2020 | Documentary | Runtime: 50 minutes | Irish & English

A War on Women takes these new, untold stories and dramatizes them in an incredibly evocative way using the words of these women wherever we have their first-hand accounts. It allows these women’s voices in their own words to be heard for the first time in a hundred years and it redresses the balance of the history of the period that has been largely focused on fighters and military tactics.


About the Director

Ciara Hyland

Ciara Hyland

Ciara Hyland is a highly experienced writer and director focusing on cutting edge history that reveals something about who we still are today. She is passionate about the visual, cinematic telling of emotionally impactful stories that resonate widely – often focussing on women and their experiences. Her current projects are ‘Forgotten: The Widows of the Irish Revolution’ for RTÉ on what happened to the wives and children of the men executed in 1916 and ‘Eipidéim’ for TG4 on the great epidemics of the past such as Smallpox, Cholera, Polio and Tuberculosis.

About the Moderator

Miriam Nyhan Grey

Miriam Nyhan Grey

Miriam Nyhan Grey trained as a historian in Ireland, Italy and the US. Her interests lie in the spheres of migration, race, ethnicity, empire and diaspora nationalism. She has taught at New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House since 2009 and is a collaborator for NYU’s Archives of Irish America’s Glucksman Ireland House Oral History Collection. She hosts This Irish American Life on public radio hour on WNYE 91.5 FM. A founding board member of the African American Irish Diaspora Network, in 2019 Miriam initiated the Black, Brown and Green Voices to amplify the experiences of people of African and Irish ancestry. Miriam’s first book was a social history of Ireland’s only Ford plant and in 2016 she edited Ireland’s Allies: America and the 1916 Easter Rising (UCD Press, Dublin). She is regular co-editor of the American Journal of Irish Studies and was the inaugural associate editor of the new NYU Press Glucksman Irish Diaspora Series.