The Death of Fionavar



The Death of Fionavar; Art in War; Constance Markievicz; 1916 publications


About this item

The death of Fionavar is a beautifully illustrated book published in May 1916, just a month after the Easter Rising. Reportedly written during the Rising and illustrated during Constance’s imprisonment on receiving a sentence of death in the aftermath of the events of Easter 1916. A sentence which was not carried out. She reported completing the drawings using rooks feathers collected from the prison yard.

Written by Eva Gore Booth and decorated with drawings and illustrations by her sister Constance Markievicz.

The story is from the larger publication The Triumph of Maeve. Maeve being the Iron Age Queen of Connaught buried in the great tomb of Knocknarea, Co. Sligo. The Play is set at Samhain, and tells the story of the death of Fionavar, the 16 year old daughter of Queen Maeve. The story and illustrations draw from characters and landscapes of the myths and legends of Ireland.

This edition is inscribed by Sister Francesca

‘This book with others belonging to the MacDonagh Family, was buried during the Reign of Terror of the Black and Tans. Hence the stain where the rain got through.

But it was not the only book that got wet; all the others were preserved intact and now are safe, under lock & key in charge of my brother Alderman Jos (Joseph) MacDonagh of Palmerstown Road, Dublin, being kept by him, as Trustee for those to whom they belong viz Donagh and Barbara MacDonagh children of the late, Thomas and Muriel MacDonagh.

Sister Francesca MacDonagh

March 3, 1922’

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