The struggle for female emancipation has produced some remarkable women who by their intellect, determination and force of character have changed the world for the better.
Some favourite quotes from women of Ireland
Mary Robinson was the youngest ever Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin and also served as the President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997. She was United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002.
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Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams co-founded the Community for Peace People, dedicated to a peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. They were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 17 September 1976.
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Jane Wilde was a poet, and wrote under the pseudonym Speranza, which mean ‘Hope’ in Italian. She had three children, one of whom was Oscar Wilde. She often referenced Irish myths and folklore in her poems. Her most famous poem is the moving poem The Famine Year (also known as The Stricken Land).
Maria Edgeworth believed that education was important to individual and national improvement. She said, “Education is the foundation of the well-governed estate and the foundation of the well-governed nation”. She thought boys and girls should be educated equally and together.
Edgeworth wanted women to have self-awareness, and stressed the importance of the individual. She strove for women to have a greater say in politics, and supported Catholic Emancipation.
Read more about her life and complex, contradictory character here
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“I saw my husband in his cell for ten minutes. During the interview the cell was packed with officers and a sergeant, who kept a watch in his hand and closed the interview by saying, ‘Your ten minutes is now up.’ ”
Grace Gifford Plunkett on meeting with her new husband, Joseph Mary Plunkett, after their wedding and just hours before he was executed at Kilmainham Gaol.
Read their tragic story here
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Bernadette Devlin, Irish civil rights leader. She was an MP in the UK Parliament from 1969 to 1974.
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Mary McAleese was President of Ireland from 11 November 1997 to 10 November 2011.
This is her Inauguration Speech from November 11, 1997. Read the full speech here
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Constance Markievicz was an Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil politician, suffragette and socialist. In December 1918, she was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons.
‘The better ideal for women who, whether they like it or not, are living in a work-a-day world, would be… if you want to walk round Ireland, or any other country, dress suitably in short skirts and strong boots, leave your jewels and gold wands in the bank, and buy a revolver.
Don’t trust to your ‘feminine charm’ and your capacity for getting on the soft side of men, but take up your responsibilities and be prepared to go your own way depending for safety on your own courage, your own truth and your own common sense, and not on the problematic chivalry of the men you may meet on the way.’
All images copyright Ireland Calling
Find out about the Irish Women’s Franchise League and their fight for the right to vote.
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The Neolithics – first people to leave their mark on Ireland