She was a Scottish teacher who was a crack shot with a rifle, smuggled explosives concealed in her hat and played a key role as a sniper in Ireland’s Easter Rising.

The story of Margaret Skinnider, who was born in Coatbridge, is now being highlighted as part of efforts to uncover the "hidden voices" of 1916 as part of next year's centenary commemorations for one of the most famous episodes in Irish history.

Her life story is featured in a new book published by the Royal Irish Academy detailing 42 biographies of figures of the Easter Rising.

And Skinnider’s role is also being highlighted as part of work exploring the Scottish links to the Irish rebellion against British rule, which took place in Easter week on April 24, 1916.

The armed insurrection was quickly crushed within a week and failed to gain widespread support, but the revolt is widely seen as stepping stone towards the creation of the Irish Free State, with backing soaring for the Republicans after 15 of the rising’s leaders were executed.

They included Edinburgh-born James Connolly, the commander-in-chief of the republican forces, who was executed for his role.

Skinnider, whose parents were from Co Monaghan, was a sniper who operated as a scout and message runner - often dressed as a boy - under the command of leaders Countess Constance Markievicz and General Michael Mallin.

The maths teacher learned to shoot in a women’s rifle club at the outbreak of the First World War and was active in the women’s suffrage movement and the Glasgow branch of the Irish Volunteers. Her activities also included smuggling detonators in her hat and testing the explosives in the Dublin mountains with Countess Markievicz.

Kirsty Lusk, chair of the 1916 Rising Centenary Committee (Scotland), said there was a push to get women’s voices back into the story of the Easter Rising, which had previously been very “male-centric”.

She said: “Part of that is probably because it was the men who were executed – Countess Markievicz was very much involved and one of the leaders, but her death sentence got changed to life imprisonment because she was a woman.

“Margaret Skinnider ended up travelling over with gelatin in her hat and wires wound round her underneath her coat to take them over to Countess Markievicz in Dublin.

“She fought as a sniper in 1916 and was the only female combatant wounded – she was really severely wounded, with three gunshots to the back and the upper right arm.”

Skinnider wrote a book about her experiences in which she talked about her experience of fighting as a sniper. She wrote: “It was dark there. Full of smoke and the din of firing, but it was good to be in action. More than once I saw the man I aimed at fall.”

She was shot and critically wounded on the third day of the rising and spent seven weeks in hospital, before managing to obtain a permit to travel back to Glasgow.

She later returned to Ireland and became active in campaigning for equal pay and status for women teachers. She died in 1971 at the age of 79 and was buried alongside Countess Markievicz.

The plans for the commemorations of the Easter Rising in Scotland include a series of talks to be held next year and a book exploring Scotland and the Easter Rising through contributions from academics, artists and those with personal links to the event.

Former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill is among those who have backed the erection of a memorial to James Connolly in Edinburgh – a move which has been attacked by some critics for provoking bigotry.

Lusk said: “This is still quite a problematic subject in Scotland – a lot of the comment we get is that it is sectarian stuff. But the Easter Rising … was about independence for Ireland and equal rights for women and workers, regardless of their religion.”