Thursday, 18 October 2018

Conference Brochure "Pioneering Women in Irish History"

This brochure is also available as a pdf here
Should you wish to pay the conference fee by PayPal, please email a request to and we will forward you a Paypal invoice to facilitate payment

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Conference: Pioneering Women in Irish History – Corralea Court Hotel, Tuam Saturday 3rd November

In 1918 Irish women were given the right to vote; but not every woman, only women over 30, who had property rights or a university education. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of women been given the opportunity to vote The Old Tuam Society and Galway County Council have joined forces to present a conference on Pioneering Women in Irish History.

This very important conference will be held in the Corralea Court Hotel, The Square, Tuam, Co. Galway on Saturday 3rd November, 2018 and will commence with registration at 9.30am and finish at 4.30pm.

Over the course of the day there will be 6 very informative and varied lectures. Mary Clancy, will provide an insight into Local Politics and Women's Suffrage: Women in Rural Galway. This lecture will examine women’s suffrage campaigning in rural Galway in the context of the existing public visibility of women, especially in poor law and local politics. It will consider how life-stories of forgotten pioneering women throw light on forms of political power associated with the daily lives of women, children and the destitute. It will also consider the place of well-known local public figures, such as Edith Drury (Eibhlín Ní Choisdealbha), Alice Perry and Ada English. Finally, the talk will discuss how the women’s suffrage campaign was able to operate in rural areas through the work of visiting speakers.

Geraldine Curtin will then speak about, Dealers, dressmakers and secret agents: Women prisoners in Galway, 1917-1921Geraldine will present the story of Winifred O’Brien, a young English woman, incarcerated in Galway Gaol as a political prisoner in 1920. Winifred’s occupation is recorded in the gaol register as ‘Journalist and secret service agent’. She was one of a number of women who were in the gaol between 1917 and 1921. Geraldine will look at both political and non-political women prisoners in Galway in this period, their crimes and punishments, and their treatment while in gaol.

The title of Mary J. Murphy’s lecture is “I am a Galway woman!” Maureen (née McHugh) O’Carroll T.D. Mary J will examine Maureen’s roots in the north Galway parish of Caherlistrane where her father was born in 1873. It will explore how her devotion to him - and to his home place - was vitally influential in her own evolution as a politician. Maureen’s ‘public’ life has been well documented but little is known about her Galway story, or her Gaelic League activist journalist father and 1916 combatant, Michael McHugh, who died when she was eleven. He worked in the Tuam Herald before leaving for Dublin in 1900, where Maureen was born in 1913, one of four surviving children. This talk will attempt to set her relentless drive, which brought her to the seat of power in Dáil Éireann in 1954, in context with regard to the profound influence her Galway born father had on her.

Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington will talk about her grandmother, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington who was a feminist, socialist, nationalist and pacifist. On marriage, Hanna Sheehy and Francis Skeffington each took each other’s name and both were very active in the early 20th century campaigning for women’s suffrage. Hanna co-founded the Irish Women’s Franchise League and was jailed twice for suffrage actions and went on hunger strike there. After Francis was murdered by a British army officer during Easter Week 1916, Hanna embarked on an 18-month tour of the US to tell the truth about British brutality in Ireland and campaign for Irish independence. She was the only Irish activist to meet with President Wilson.

Meanwhile, Alison Titley will speak about Irish Women Artists in Tuam. The women who exhibited in the Tuam Art Club Exhibitions 1943-1959 included local amateur artists, members of the Galway Art Club and well known Irish artists with both national and international reputations. Many of them were pioneers and were well-known for their struggle to gain recognition and inclusion in modern art in Ireland.

The final lecture of the day will be by Dr. John Cunningham who has an intriguing title for his lecture: “Don't iron while the strike is hot!” exiled Irishwomen and the fight for workers' rights. John will talk about the high levels of emigration from Ireland in the Famine and post-Famine periods meant that many pioneering Irishwomen made their contribution outside their native country. His paper will focus on three such women who played dynamic roles in early labour unions. Roscommon-born Kate Mullany (c.1838-1906) sailed to America with her family in 1850, finding employment in the collar-making industry in Troy, New York. There, in 1864, she established the Collar Laundry Union, considered to be the first women’s trade union in the United States. Another Famine emigrant to North America was Cork-born Mary Harris (1837-1930), known as Mother Jones, who is remembered as an organiser for the United Mineworkers Union, and as a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Also associated with the IWW was Wexford-born Mary Fitzgerald, née Sinnott (1882-1960), publisher of labour newspapers, feminist and militant trade unionist, and the first woman to be elected to public office in South Africa.

There will also be a display by the Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna on the lives of women of the workhouse.

This conference is part funded by Galway County Council, Galway Decade of Commemoration 2013-2013 and Creative Ireland under Galway County Council Cultural and Creativity Strategy. The conference fee of €10 includes tea and coffee and a two course lunch.

A pdf of the conference information brochure is available here

Or for further information please contact one of the following:
Heritage Officer,
Galway County Council
Phone 091 509198/087 9088387

Forward Planning,
Galway County Council.
Phone 091 509121

ANNE TIERNEY, Old Tuam Society,
4 Bishop Street, Tuam, Co. Galway.
Phone 086-3431266

Monday, 8 October 2018

October Event 2018

The Old Tuam Society is delighted to announce our October 2018 event. The evening will feature 2 talks on important local figures. Firstly, a short lecture by Bride Brady on Kilconly’s famous Fenian, Dr Mark Ryan, followed by Prof Paul Mohr who will talk about Milltown astronomer John Birmingham. Paul previously published a magnificent biography entitled John Birmingham, Esq., Tuam and Ireland's New Star. Paul will then present his own John Birmingham archive to Tuam Library. We hope you will join us for what promises to be a very informative evening.

Tuam Library
Thursday 18th of October
8 pm
All Welcome