Sunday 15 December 2019

Bridgetown hosting a festival to honour Kathleen Browne

Kathleen Browne
Kathleen Browne

Maria Pepper

A new festival is to be held honouring Katheen Browne, the politician, farmer, writer, historian and archaeologist who was arrested and imprisoned in 1916 after flying a tricolour from her family home in Rathronan Castle during the Easter Rising.

Bridgetown Historical Society has announced that the village of Bridgetown will host the first Kathleen Browne Arts and Literary Festival in September. The event will be launched at a reception in Molly & Dolly's Restaurant in Bridgetown on Friday, June 15, by the Mayor of Wexford, Cllr Jim Moore.

Kathleen Anne Browne (1876- 1943) joined Sinn Féin in 1912 and the Irish Volunteers in 1914. She was arrested and imprisoned in Waterford jail, Richmond Barracks and Kilmainham and Mountjoy prisons and was released in June 1916. She took the pro-Treaty side during the Civil War, joining Cumann na nGaedhael.

Kathleen was elected to Seanan Éireann of the Irish Free State as a Cumann na nGaedhael member at a by-election on June 20, 1929. The by-election was caused by the death of Alice Stopford Green.

She was re-elected for three years in 1931 and for nine years in 1934. She served until May 29, 1936 when the Free State Seanad was abolished. As a politician in the Free State senate from 1929 to 1936, she was active in the promotion of the rights of farmers and women.

Her active local and national political life stretched from her teens in the late 1880s to her death in 1943 with five decades spent in the service of Ireland. She played an active role in the Gaelic League, Sinn Féin, the Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan, Cumann na nGaedhael, and Fine Gael. She was an expert in Irish history, culture, the Irish language and the Yola dialect of Forth and Bargy.

During the festival on September 14 and 15, a wall plaque will be placed on the house in Bridgetown where Kathleen was born and will be unveiled by one of her descendant relatives, the famous psychiatrist Dr. Ivor Browne.

The festival will include a range of events and exhibitions including a public gathering to unveil the plaque, lectures on local history, a history project for local students with €500 in prizes; an exhibiton of art; a market for local crafters and artisans, music and entertainment and a buskers' competition.

For more information, contact Wally O'Neill of Red Books, Bridgetown, on

Wexford People

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