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Modern Irishwomen

May 12 - December 8


May 12
December 8


Education Room, Galway City Museum


Brendan McGowan

Modern Irishwomen

12 May – 8 December 2018








1918 was a landmark year for women in Ireland and Britain, with legislation beginning the process of their inclusion in politics. Notably, in December 1918, Constance Markievicz became the first woman to be elected to the British House of Commons, only to abstain from taking her seat as a member of Sinn Féin. Galway City Museum is proud to mark the centenary of such a pivotal year in women’s history by hosting monthly lectures on Markievicz and seven other ‘Modern Irishwomen’.

Published in book format as Rebel Irishwomen in 1935, the subjects were initially profiled by journalist and author R. M. Fox (1891-1969) for a New York magazine. Alongside Markievicz, Fox’s ‘Modern Irishwomen’ series featured essays on Eva Gore-Booth, Maud Gonne MacBride, Helena Molony, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, Maeve Cavanagh MacDowell, Dora Maguire and Charlotte Despard.

While dismissed by one critic as ‘a collection of propagandist articles written for immature minds and not for adults’, Fox’s essays were popular with his target audience and described by one of the subjects as ‘the high tribute of a generous soul, to a few women who saw the light and followed it to the best of their different capabilities’.

Supported by the Moore Institute, this lecture series is curated by Dr James Curry, a recent NUI Galway graduate and committee member of the Irish Labour History Society.

Saturday, 12 May, 2:30pm

Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington on her grandmother, suffragette and nationalist Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington (1877-1946), co-founder of the Irish Women’s Franchise League.


Saturday, 9 June, 2:30pm

Aidan J Collins on the forgotten nurse and republican activist Dora Maguire (1889-1931), remembered in one Dublin newspaper obituary as the ‘Friend of the Poor’.


Saturday, 14 July, 2:30pm

James Curry on Maeve Cavanagh MacDowell (1878-1960), described by James Connolly on the eve of the Easter Rising as ‘the fair poetess of the [Irish] Revolution’.


Saturday, 11 August, 2:30pm

Sinead McCoole on Constance Markievicz (1868-1927), countess, politician and revolutionary nationalist.


Saturday, 8 September, 2:30pm

Margaret Ward on actress, suffragette and revolutionary Maud Gonne MacBride (1866-1953).


Saturday, 13 October, 2:30pm

Aimee Plunkett on republican, feminist and trade union activist Helena Molony (1883-1967).


Saturday, 10 November, 2:30pm

Ann Matthews on suffragist, novelist and republican activist Charlotte Despard (1844-1939).


Saturday, 8 December, 2:30pm

Jamie Canavan on Irish poet and dramatist Eva Gore-Booth (1870-1926), younger sister of Constance Markievicz and a committed suffragist and labour activist.