Maud Gonne

Other names: 

Maud Edith Gonne

Maud Gonne MacBride

Date of birth: 
21 Dec 1866
City of birth: 
Farnham, Surrey
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
27 Apr 1953
Location of death: 
Dublin, Ireland

Maud Gonne was an Irish nationalist who made various links with the Indian independence movement. She had an extremely close relationship with W. B. Yeats throughout her life, was the mother of Iseult Gonne and knew Rabindranath Tagore, but also had a separate public political life. Although she was born in England to English parents, Gonne became a vocal and passionate Irish nationalist. Her father, a Cavalry Major, had been posted to Ireland and Maud Gonne lived there for a number of years in her childhood. When her father was posted to India in 1879, the children moved to the South of France.

Gonne moved between socialist and right-wing sympathies, but was always commited to Irish nationalism. As the Irish and Indian independence movements began to find many areas of common ground, Maud Gonne developed links with Indian nationalists. She became friends with the India House organization, and was featured in Krishnavarma's Indian Sociologist. When Savarkar was imprisoned at Brixton in 1910, Gonne helped David Garnett and Irish radicals co-ordinate a failed attempt to help Savarkar escape. Gonne liaised with other Indian nationalists such as Vithalbhai Patel, and in 1932 put together the Indian-Irish Independence League (IIIL) with Indulal Yajnik. Her son, Seán MacBride held various posts in the IRA and became Chief of Staff in 1936, although he left the Association soon after. Gonne shared a house with her son and his family in Dublin, where she died in 1953.


Charlotte Despard, David Garnett, Iseult Gonne (daughter), John MacBride (husband), Seán MacBride (son), Vithalbhai Patel, Rabindranath Tagore, Indulal Yajnik, William Butler Yeats.

Indian-Irish Independence League (IIIL)

Published works: 

A Servant of the Queen: Her Own Story (London: Victor Gollancz, 1938)

Secondary works: 

Levenson, Samuel, Maud Gonne (London: Cassell, 1977)

Londraville, Janis and Richard (eds), Too Long a Sacrifice: The Letters of Maud Gonne and John Quinn (London: Associated University Presses, 1999)

MacBride White, Anna and Jeffares, A. Norman (eds), Always Your Friend: The Gonne-Yeats Letters, 1893-1938 (London: Pimlico, 1992)

O'Malley, Kate, Ireland, India and Empire: Indo-Irish Radical Connections, 1919-64 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008)

Steele, Karen (ed.), Maud Gonne's Irish Nationalist Writings, 1895-1946 (Dublin: Irish Academi

Toomey, Deirdre, ‘Gonne, (Edith) Maud (1866–1953)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2008) []

Ward, Margaret, Maud Gonne: A Life (London: Pandora, 1990)

Archive source: 

MacBride family papers, private collection

Letters, New York Public Library