The inspiration for the story of Bridget and Cáit Foley of Knockmonlea, Killeagh was taken from real accounts given by one of the sisters, and the historical documents of the time exhaustively and passionately researched by writer Siobhán Fogarty. The premise of the tale is the incredible life of these two girls as they grew up in rural Ireland, living through the heart breaking effects of the Land League era in their local community. That, however, is just the beginning. The sisters also played in the first ever camogie match and went on to be heavily involved in the politics of Revolutionary Ireland during the Rising of 1916. Historical documents show their close ties with the key players of Irish history at the time, including Roger Casement, Seán Mac Diarmada and Padraig Pearse. As members and couriers of Cumann na mBan, (the Irish Republican Woman’s Paramilitary organisation), the sisters took their lives in their hands with each delivery of messages and guns, and each meeting held. Their courage and daring ran parallel with, and equal to, their male counterparts whose names we all know too well. The sisters’ story is a factual account of how the women of this country played a huge, often untold, part in the script of Ireland’s fight for freedom.
Writer, Siobhán, spoke at the launch of how tumultuous the childhoods of the girls had been, as testified in documents and accounts of the time. Neighbours losing all they had, even the roof over their heads – something, as Siobhan pointed out, can be echoed in the news stories we see today. Siobhán’s labour of love has been passed into the capable hands of Director/Producer Ruth Hayes, Sound Engineer Warren Tivy and the crew at CRY104FM. From there, it has leapt from the page and is now breathed into life through the vocal talents of local actors of all ages. An absolutely fascinating true-life account of these two women and the recognition that gender has no place in the limits of passion, national pride and courage.
There must be many more similar stories of brave women out there, just waiting to be discovered and told.
Tune into CRY104FM on Tuesday, June 5 at 6.30pm for the first part of this gripping 4-part drama, “The Rising Sisters”.