The Pram That Helped The Rising

A Tribute to the Irish Community Butte Montana, 1916-1919

The Pram That Helped The Rising is a storytelling and traditional music event is a collaboration by visual artist Amanda Jane Graham and traditional musician Martin Donohoe. The live event centres on Amanda Jane’s own personal and deeply moving story about her grandmother Mary Timmins. This was a story passed down through three generations and has become a story that the artist has drawn on as part of her art practice. It tells the story of the unexpected links between one family’s links to the Easter Rising, Eamon De Valera and Cavan’s own Marcus Daly, owner of the Anaconda Copper Mine. We hear how the women of the Irish Community in Butte, Montana made a mattress for the doll’s pram and secretly stitched thousands of dollars inside it. The pram was then given to three year old Mary to unwittingly smuggle to Ireland. 

Amanda Jane Graham is a visual artist based in County Longford. She is a regular contributor on the Arts Show on Shannonside Northern Sound as the Visual Arts Correspondent. The Pram That Helped the Rising is a story of patriotism, integrity and allegiance. This story takes place at a time in Irish history when migration and poverty shaped our nation. This story has particular relevance now as we remember 1916.   In The Pram That Helped the Rising we meet Mary Timmins, a small child born in 1913 to Irish parents, in Butte, Montana USA. Through Mary’s young eyes we see what life was like for the many Irish who flocked to Butte to find work in Marcus Daly’s infamous Anaconda Copper Mine. Daly, a native of Crosserlough, Co.Cavan, and the youngest of eleven children, emigrated to America at the age of thirteen and made his fortune in the mines, which then became known as ‘The Richest Hill on Earth’. Such were the numbers of Irish working in the mines that money was collected regularly by women for ‘The Cause’ and Eamon De Valera travelled to Montana in 1919 to thank the community for their help during and after the Easter Rising.

The storytelling is accompanied by a new traditional Irish music composition by Martin Donohoe which premiered alongside a selection of traditional music of the period. Martin, an accordion player, has composed two new tunes in response to the personal family story and the period in Irish history.  These compositions include a new piece of music responding to the legacy of Marcus Daly of the Butte Montana Mine.  Martin is joined by Bobby Walsh on guitar and Zoran Donohoe on harp.  

This collaborative artwork from the artists Amanda Jane Graham and Martin Donohoe and has developed from the work of the Cavan Curators, Annette Moloney and Maeve Mulrennan.  The Cavan Curators worked in the county with artists to support their development during 2015.   Their work included: one to one sessions and mentoring with Cavan artists; a series of Artist Exchange Sessions and facilitated supports for local Cavan arts organisations.  The residency and this project was organized by Cavan County Council Arts Office and supported by the Arts Council, Cavan County Council and Irish Water.

Running Time - 50 minutes

Amanda Jane Graham Visual Artist and Narrator

Martin Donohoe Music

For the Live Event Amanda Jane and Martin will be joined by ::

Zoran Donohoe - Harp

Bobby Walsh - Guitar

Technician: Paul Farnan


Image Credit: Amanda Jane Graham, De Valera's Rally, Montana 1919, Aquatint, Hard and Soft Ground Etchings and Drawing Collage, 240 x 70cm, 2009

Image courtesy of the Black Church Print Studio:  Repetition exhibition & Amanda Jane Graham


Maeve Mulrennan + Annette Moloney

Irish Times review by Frank Mc Nally

Images of The Pram That Helped The Rising at Townhall Art Space, Cavan

Audience reactions to The Pram That Helped The Rising at Townhall Art Space in Cavan.

Anglo Celt by Damian Mc Carney

The Pram That Helped The Rising Programme

The Pram That Helped The Rising_Programme.PDF The Pram That Helped The Rising_Programme.PDF
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 © Amanda Jane Graham