We were not allowed to take photos, but I learn a lot about how the Irish government works.
The Dail is made up of 166 members representing the 43 constituencies (one member for every 20,000 to 30,000 people). the elections are held once every five years. These members can be elected as many times as the people see fit. In the Dail, new laws are researched, put forth, and voted on. the deputies are expected to have close ties to the communities who elected them, to know how best to serve them. This is the house that serves to create laws, and, once they have passed through the Seanad, send them off to the president for the final approval.
The Seanad is made up of 60 appointed members. 43 are elected by vocational panels (representing Culture and Education, Agriculture, Labor, Industry and Commerce, and Public Administration), 6 are elected by graduates from the two main universities of Ireland (National University of Ireland and The university of Dublin, aka Trinity College), and 11 are nominated by the Taoisearch (the Prime Minister). This house has the responsability of looking over bills passed by the Dail, and can make financial and legal suggestions. The Senate is responsible for research and debate, and can advise the Dail, but not pass or write any laws of its own.
Seeing this location really helped educate me on how the Irish lawmaking process works, a very intricate and interesting process.
Constance Markievicz is still remembered today as one of Ireland's most famous feminists. A bust of her was erected in St. Steven's green, and WB Yeats wrote a poem in her honor, titled "In memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Constance Markievicz."
As with all famous figures, there is some controversy around Markievics. Some feel that she was a bloodthirsty diva, who fought for causes she did not quite understand and wore uniforms simply to be noticed. She is sometimes accused of brainwashing the youth of Ireland into nationalist killing machines. Overall though, she is quite favorably remembered. Her work as a feminist certainly helped show the world of the early 1920s that women were capable of taking part in politics. It is also hard to not admire someone who fights so passionately for their country. One doesn't often stumble upon feminist icons, and I have to say I really enjoyed researching the stories of Constance Markievicz.