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22 May 1922: The Forcible Hair Cutting of the Cullen Sisters of Keenaghan, Co. Tyrone

Read Mary McAuliffe’s essay on ‘Gendered Violence Against Women’ on Century Ireland.

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, features 50 essays from leading international scholars that explore a turning point in history, one whose legacy remains controversial a century on. Building on their own expertise, and on the wealth of recent scholarship provoked by the Decade of Centenaries, each contributor focuses on one event that illuminates a key aspect of revolutionary Ireland, demonstrating how the events of this year would shape the new states established in 1922. Together, these essays explore many of the key issues and debates of a year that transformed Ireland.

In collaboration with Century Ireland, we are making the 50 essays freely available online. Today’s essay is by Mary McAuliffe and it covers a brutal outrage that occurred in the townland of Keenaghan on 22 May 1922:

In June 1922 a brutal outrage that occurred in the townland of Keenaghan, in the parish of Killyman, near Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, was reported in several newspapers. Late on the night of Saturday, 22 May 1922, about twenty armed and masked men forced their way into the Cullen family home. Mrs Mary Cullen was brutally assaulted, as was her son (Peter) who was beaten unconscious. Also present in the house were two of Mrs Cullen’s daughters, Mary and Teresa. The newspapers record that the ‘cowardly ruffians’ produced scissors they had brought with them, and proceeded to attack the sisters, cutting their hair off so roughly that their ‘scalp [was] cut in each instance in several places’. Some reports indicate that Mrs Cullen also had her hair sheared off. Before the raiders left, they smashed furniture and broke in the doors and windows. Continue reading (you will be redirected to the website of Century Ireland)

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, is published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.


Ireland 1922