Unsurrendered Spirits, an exhibition based on the prison writings of Dorothy Macardle, is on in Kilmainham Gaol until 30th September. It concentrates in particular on Earthbound, a collection of nine supernatural stories, Macardle wrote while a prisoner in Mountjoy Prison and Kilmainham Gaol.
Macardle was incarcerated from the 9 November 1922 until early May 1923 in Mountjoy, Kilamainham and briefly in the North Dublin Union. While in the two former jails she wrote many of the stories that would be published as Earth-bound in 1924. Macardle kept a jail journal up to March 1923. Through the lens of this jail journal a sense of Macardle’s interiority in this life-altering period merges as she struggled to forge her republican credentials and came to grips with the loss of her expected future life. Macardle’s voice is strong; her questioning intellect emerges sharply from its pages. The reader can see how she forged her own viewpoints on the use of violence for political ends, how she came to an understanding of what for her it meant to be a republican as well as her unwillingness to be led by group think within the prison walls. Throughout the journal, one privy to her struggles with the possibility of having to engage in supportive hunger strike and the boredom and at times, pettiness and sordidness, of the prison day as women shared close quarters and inadequate cooking and sanitary facilities.
Admission to see the exhibition, without a tour of the building, is free and no booking is required.