Cumann na mBan (The Women’s Council)

Cumann na mBan (The Women’s Council) was an organisation of women, founded in 1914 ‘to advance the cause of Irish liberty.’ Later this definition was amended to describe the organisation as ‘an independent body of Irish women pledged to work for the Irish Republic, by organising and training the women of Ireland to take their place at the side of those working and fighting for its recognition.’

From the outset they had their own constitution. There was a governing body consisting of an Executive with a President, four Vice Presidents and eleven members residing in Dublin. There were 12 county members – three from each province. These formed an Advisory Council for the provinces.

Women of Irish birth or descent were eligible for membership. At their convention in 1917: ‘No woman can be a member of Cumann na mBan, who is a member of an organisation doing work of any kind for the English enemy.’

A badge with the initials C na B with an intertwined rifle was designed and a green tweed uniform was adopted. Up until the 1916 Rising women designed and usually made their own uniforms so there was some variety in styles in the period leading up to the Rising.

The Irish Military Archives list 13 branches of Cumann na mBan in County Mayo. Membership rolls on the website contain the rank of officers, the name, postal address and maiden names where applicable of the membership at District Branch, Branch and Squad level with the strengths on 11 July 1921 and 1 July 1922. Rolls are signed and dated by the officers concerned. Deceased members are named and location of surviving members, if abroad, given. They can be viewed at The Military Archives 

13 Branches of Cumann na mBan in County Mayo

CMB 27
WEST MAYO BRIGADE

CMB 28
WESTPORT DISTRICT COUNCIL (WEST MAYO BRIGADE AREA)

CMB 34
FOXFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL (NORTH MAYO BRIGADE AREA)

CMB 30
SOUTH MAYO BRIGADE

CMB 31
BALLINROBE DISTRICT COUNCIL (SOUTH MAYO BRIGADE AREA)

CMB 32
EAST MAYO BRIGADE 1

CMB 33
NORTH MAYO BRIGADE

CMB 35
LAHARDANE/CROSSMOLINA DISTRICT COUNCIL
(NORTH MAYO BRIGADE AREA)

CMB 36
CORBALLA DISTRICT COUNCIL (NORTH MAYO BRIGADE AREA)

CMB 37
KILLALA/BALLYCASTLE-LACKEN DISTRICT COUNCIL
NORTH MAYO BRIGADE AREA

CMB 38
BALLINA DISTRICT COUNCIL (NORTH MAYO BRIGADE AREA)

CMB 39
EAST MAYO BRIGADE 11

CMB 40
KILTIMAGH DISTRICT COUNCIL (EAST MAYO BRIGADE)

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