Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) was born into a wealthy landed family in Lissadell, Co. Sligo. As she grew up, she spent much of her free time roaming her father's estate, meeting the tenants and learning about their plight. Her father, an Arctic explorer who also spent a season in London each year with the family, was very much removed from the lives of the tenants on his estate. However, the personal contact Constance and her sister Eva had with the tenants may have inspired them to work for civil rights in their later lives - a path that most certainly embroiled them in social and political conflicts. Unlike Eva though, Constance spent much of her early years enjoying the spoils of her privileged life and actively pursued an art career, attending schools in both London and Paris.
This was a time of great social and political change in Ireland. The Grand Jury System was replaced by the County Councils in 1898 under the Government of Ireland Act, and so real local elections for local government took place. Constance became interested in the Suffrage movement in Ireland. Primary education had begun in 1831, but only became compulsory in 1870, after its benefits were proven beyond doubt. Furthermore social gaps in areas such as the spoken English language had narrowed more and more as Constance grew up. The Land League, which was set up in 1879, was beginning to rock the system of land ownership in Ireland. Constance and her family were Anglo Irish, not entirely at home in Ireland or in London. She enjoyed her privileged life. Once Constance discovered the nationalist cause, and subsequently joined Sinn Fein in 1908, she completely devoted her life to it. She sacrificed everything, including her family life, for something she previously knew nothing about.