Katherine “Jake” Folan

by Jean Mac Sorley

Aged fifteen, from Sea Rd. Galway, Katherine “Jake” Folan, was  imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in 1923 in a cell previously occupied by Padraig Pearse

I wish I could have been there in 1916
to speak to that Great Man who uttered
“Lord thou art hard on Mothers”
But oh, what elation to be in his cell
And they’ve even taken me out of school!

I dream of a nation where Ireland can be one
Free from all British control,
where we can sing from the rooftops,
and all wars are brought to an end,
as we reclaim what is rightfully ours.

I dream of a land of mutual respect
a time when we can lay down our arms
witness a fairer spread of wealth
where the poor have equal rights
to education supports and health,
now only afforded the affluent.

I dream of Love, Laughter, Friendship, Trust,
a land where Families can overcome their differences,
show respect for each other’s views.
Where we can listen,
come to some compromise
that doesn’t involve violence.

I wish people could recognise
that ownership of land
is not the real cause of our suffering,
it runs much deeper than that.
Look there, and let true dialogue begin.
We will find our freedom therein.
















This poem was composed during a series of creative writing workshops for Comhrá na mBan Centenary Writers Group led by Emily Cullen at Westside Library, Galway during September – December 2023, as part of the ‘Reflections – A Commemoration of the Irish Women of 1923.’ This project was presented by Galway City Council, Galway Public Libraries & Galway City Museum & supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media.