Biddy Condon (1893) and Sister Mary Condon (1891) were born in Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford to parents Thomas and Bridget. The family included her two brother James and Michael. Both Bridget and Mary were active members of the local Cumann n mBan. The Ballymacarbry and Nire Valley area had an active group of Cumann na mBan women supporting the local volunteers. During the Civil War, Bridget was arrested by Free State Soldiers and imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol. There were no records of Bridget's internment in Kilmainham as the Free State kept very limited records of prisoners. The pension records will be released in 2016 and we hope to add to Bridget's account of her imprisonment during this period.
Hundreds of prominent women were arrested during the Civil War and many of the female prisoners in regional prisons were moved to Kilmainham, Mount Joy and North Dublin Union. Kilmainham was opened to women from February until September 1923 and housed 300 female prisoners. The women prisoner's autograph book and accounts recorded are the most accurate record of prisoners in Kilmainham at this time. Brigid Condon, Ballymacarbry is recorded in the Kilmainham autograph Jail Collection as a prisoner between February - September 1923. This period of imprisonment was particularly brutal for women detainees and the women were kept in poor conditions. Biddy's family only became aware of her imprisonment during the Civil War after her death in 1973. In 2016 her pension statements will be released and her full story will at last be available.
Biddy Condon later worked in Kiely's butchers in Clonmel, but regularly visited her homestead in Ballymacarbry Upper & her sister in Knockalisheen. She died on June 6th, 1973 and is buried in Kilcloggan with her parents. Mary O'Ryan (Condon) later married Cllr Michael O'Ryan; the couple had four sons Diarmuid, Colm, Tom & Ciaran and one daughter Maureen. Mary died 29th June 1975 and is buried with her husband in Fourmilewater.
Source: The Ryan family, Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford.
Author: Chrissy O'Connor Knight & Eddie Cantwell