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Elliot Sisters
Cumann na mBan: Emily Ledwith (née Elliott) with her sister Eilis Ní Briain (née Elliot)
Ethnicity Irish
Members Emily, Eilís

The Elliot sisters, Emily (1893-3 March 1983, later Ledwith) and Eilís (26 June 1896- 29 March 1966, later Ní Briain),[1] were two Irish sisters notable for their involvement in Irish Nationalism and founder members of Cumann na mBan.


Emily and Eilís were born in Tonagh near Glasson in Co. Westmeath.[2][3] They were born to farmer Peter Elliot and Margaret Berry.[1] They had at least sisters, Ethel, Theresa and Rebecca and brothers Edward and Arthur.[4][5][6][7][8][9] At the time of the rising Eilís was living at Gardiner's Place in Dublin.[10] She is also known as Lizzie.[9]

These two sisters were involved with the nationalist movement in Ireland. The women were members of Cumann na mBan, Emily was a member of the Keating branch. Emily wanted to volunteer in the General Post Office, (GPO) and headed into the city with Eilís Ryan. They were turned away from the GPO and sent to Reis's Chambers on the opposite side of O'Connell Street from the GPO during the Easter Rising. The volunteers were trying to ensure the details of the rising got released and the chambers hosted a wireless school. The women were responsible for ensuring the men had rations, which required them crossing O'Connell street while it was under fire more than once.[10][11][12][13] On the second day the two women were joined by Eilís Elliot.[10]

The women later served in the Four Courts and in Fr Matthew Hall both in providing rations and first aid support. On the final night and with the assistance of the priests, the women mingled with the congregation from the church and avoided being arrested.[10][12]

Westmeath musician Enda Seery composed a suite of traditional Irish music, A New Ireland in the Orchard Air’ to honour the sisters.[2][14] The council decided to name a new bridge over the River Shannon the Cumman na mBan bridge in honour of the sisters and the organisation.[3][15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Birth record". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Eilis and Emily Elliott: A New Ireland in the Orchard Air (1916 Centenary Project)". 28 March 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Maria Daly (16 Oct 2014). "Councillor proposes new name for bypass bridge". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  4. "Theresa". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  5. "Rebecca". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  6. "Ethel". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  7. "Edward". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  8. "Arthur". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Eilís, Bean Uí Chonaill, (Ní Riain),". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  11. ""He Received Us With Open Arms"". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Cumann na mBan". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  13. "Aine Ni Riain". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  14. "Eilis And Emily Elliott: A Celebration With Newly Composed Traditional Irish Music. (Monday, 28th March 2016)". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  15. Tríona Doherty (2 Apr 2015). "Bypass bridge to be renamed Cumann na mBan Bridge". Retrieved November 4, 2016. 

Further reading[]

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