The Sisters' Involvement in Culture and Arts

As the girls progressed through their teens, their involvement in the Arts began to increase. Constance was drawn to painting whereas Eva's interest in writing began to flourish. Constance enrolled in the Slade College of Art, London in 1893 and by 1898 had moved to Paris working in the Rudolphe Julian Art school. It was here she met and married the artist Count Casimir Dunin-Markievicz from Poland. They returned to Ireland and settled in Rathmines, Dublin in 1903. Here they began to mix with Dublin's establishment and upper class social circles. Eva had begun to look to Irelands literary past for inspiration for her work and ' was deeply influenced by Irish poetry and legend' [5].

Approximately the same time as Constance enrolled in the Slade College, Eva travelled throughout America and Europe taking pleasure in meeting and experiencing the different cultures and societies. In 1897 she moved to Salford in Manchester where she settled with relatives. Throughout, she continued to produce poetry, some of her works appearing in ' the Irish homestead', 'the new Ireland review' & ' Longmans magazine' [6]. Her first volume of poetry was published in 1898.

As the 19th century drew to a close, it became apparent to both sisters; separated by the Irish Sea, that their lives were not completely fulfilled by the interests that both shared in the Arts. It would take some time and soul searching to discover that their childhood experiences had given them invaluable knowledge about Irish society, indeed society as a whole at the turn of the century. Eva stated in one of her poems that she 'sought the hidden beauty in all things'[ 7].

This simple line showed how much of an idealist Eva was and how much she would pursue something she deemed to be worthy of justice. Constance was at the same turning point in her life searching for the one thing in life that she could pursue with vigorous passion. ' there is a spark somewhere, that indescribable touch that carries one away and makes one believe in love....what do I want? I don't know' [8].

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