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Women in the Irish Wars - punishment

Woman's hair, punishment shearing, 1920

Woman's hair, punishment shearing, Carlow area, 1920

This hair was cut from a women in a punishment shearing, or ‘bobbing’, during the War of Independence, probably by a member of the IRA in 1920. The hair was in the possession of Michael Barry, brother of Kevin Barry, when he was arrested on 31st December 1920. The woman’s identity remains unknown.
The shearing of women’s hair was a tactic used by both the IRA and the British Forces – particularly the Black and Tans - to punish and deter women from colluding and interacting with enemy forces, or any other perceived crime. There are many recorded incidents of women being terrorised by being dragged from their homes and their hair cut with violence, as well as other acts of violence and sexual assault. Such violence against civilian women has been common in warfare across the world for centuries - as a method of punishment and degradation of women, a degradation of their men who failed to protect them, and a dehumanisation of their people.


Woman's hair, punishment shearing, 1920 is located at:
On Display

Previous artefact:

British reprisal at Cleeve’s Condensed Milk Factory in Limerick, 1920

Next artefact:

Katie Byrne, Cumann na mBan / GHQ Squad, 1920

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