Our non-Irish readers, of which there are quite a few (hello there!) may not know that in Ireland at this time of year we remember the anniversary of the revolution that led to the formation of the Republic, known as the Easter Rising. This year marks the centenary of the civil war that the revolution instigated, which came after the War of Independence (1919 – 1921).
Among the leaders of the initial rebellion was a formidable woman called Constance Markievicz, the daughter of an Arctic explorer and Anglo-Irish landlord and wife of a self-styled Polish count. But her father and husband are not what makes her interesting, oh no.
She was all you want in a romantic hero; swashbuckling, charismatic, passionate and stylish – for the revolution itself she donned a full army uniform and topped it all off with a jaunty feather in her cap.
If I’ve piqued your interest you can read more about the very fascinating Countess Markievicz here.
Her choice of head wear did strike me as quite a funny and bold move, being Easter after all, a time oft associated with ladies donning their finest hats and parading at the races or peacocking on a perambulation.
I love a good hat, and there’s been something of a millinery revival here in Ireland’s West recently, thanks in no small part to Ahascragh’s most famous son Philip Treacy, the slow ascent from recession and the general creativity and desire to inspire that runs through our veins. A number of hat designers from round these parts, including a school friend of these humble mice and very talented artist, Michelle Kearns, are being featured on a new programme on Irish TV (Sky 191) called The Hat Show.
Like a great deal of you out there I have a number of weddings lined up to attend this summer (and possibly another one in autumn), which I’m really looking forward to (and very much looking forward to dressing up for!). For last year’s batch I didn’t buy or hire a single headpiece, something I regretted a little, so this year I’m planning on wearing one to each nuptial celebration. There are so many ways to get your hat on, but looking through my current inspiration I’m either leaning towards pillbox styles or am going to go big or go home.
The excuses to wear a striking hat are getting more and more evident – weddings, races, Easter, Christmas, days off, birthdays, Fridays – but a woman who wears a show-stopping hat on a non designated hat day is telling the world she’s confident, vivacious, sure of herself, commanding – just ask Constance Markievicz.
This article was originally posted in 2016.