Cur síosMary Ann McCracken was a unique and progressive figure in Belfast’s history. She was a pioneer of women’s rights and a serious revolutionary in the era of the United Irishmen. In the nineteenth century she was able to recognise changed times in which armed struggle was no longer a viable or justifiable strategy. She carried her reforming zeal into a variety of charitable and campaigning activities into a great old age and always on resolutely non-sectarian basis. Her ideas on social reform remained in advance of her time. She not only cared for the poor, and women and children in particular, but she advocated government policies which could have alleviated their condition. She remained a staunch advocate of women’s rights and a determined opponent of slavery, when both causes were in abeyance, and she was a critic of the wrongs of empire when imperial enthusiasm was sweeping all before it.