Hundreds of invited guests arrived at Lissadell House this week to celebrate the opening of the ‘The Voice of Women — 100 years of achievement?’
Fáil leader Micheál Martin was there to officially open the exhibition
and was accompanied by a host of of the party faithful.
excellent exhibition marks the work of women, including Countess
Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth, for the emancipation of women through
The displays also explores the actual achievements for
the representation of women since Markievicz’s election as the first
woman Member of Parliament in December 1918.
owners Constance Cassidy and Eddie Walsh were bundles of energy as they
welcomed guests, gave tours of the exhibition, served wine and food and
still had time to chat to everyone.
Constance says the
displays are a list of 100 inspirational women they felt had "shaped the
Ireland we live in today" and includes writers, broadcasters, religious
figures, artists, sportswomen, journalists, legal professionals,
politicians, suffragettes and teachers.Lissadell
owners (l-r) Eddie Walsh and Constance Cassidy with Micheál Martin,
Marc Mac Sharry TD, Cllr Tom Mac Sharry, Eamon Scanlon TD, Cllr Rosaleen
O'Grady and Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Seamus Kilgannon. Photo: SligoToday.ie
exhibition also includes Constance's own mother, Eileen Cassidy, a
former senator, entered with the caption 'homemaker, required to resign
employment on marriage, 1958, appointed to the Senate, 1977, 1932-1995.
In her address Constance said, that for her and her husband Eddie Walsh,
putting a question mark at the end of the exhibition title was
“My husband insisted on putting the question
mark there because he said, ‘Well what has been achieved? What have
women achieved over the last 100 years?’
“So one has to look at
pay gender discrimination, which is shocking, I blithely assumed, as a
women in 2018, that everyone was paid equally.”
100 women who have shaped this little country was a long and arduous
task and there is talk of a ‘part two’ to include a further 100."
Durkin, (100 this year) with Nancy Farrell, Rosemary Walsh, Lissadell
owner Eddie Walsh and Kathleen Walsh at the exhibition. Photo: SligoToday.ie
student girls from nearby Grange Post Primary School were delighted to
see actress Saoirse Ronan included in the exhibition whom they see as an
young contemporary inspiration.
Bridie Durkin, due to celebrate
her 100th birthday was delighted to be back in Lissadell where she
recalled many happy childhood memories on Lissadell beach. Micheál Martin (r) with Sligo County Council CEO Ciarán Hayes
. Photo: SligoToday.ie
Martin in his address said, "The extraordinary beauty of this area
remains as powerful as ever. However we should never forget that
Lissadell is a magical name in Irish history because of the spirit of
the people associated with this house.
"The cause of the rights
of women to be heard and to lead is one of the most important of these
ideals and this is why this exhibition is so welcome.
look back at the writing of most history – and not just Irish history –
there is a tendency to present strong women as somehow eccentric and out
of place. This confuses the exceptional for the eccentric.
story of Eva and Constance trying to spark women’s suffrage agitation
in the local community is a wonderful demonstration of their spirit."
lunch on the day were (l-r); Ann Campbell, Gail McGibbon, Marian
Scanlon, Lisa Chambers TD, Marie Kelly, Cllr Rosaleen O'Grady, Mary
Carway and Cllr Marie Casserly. Photo: SligoToday.ie
Mr Martin continued, "Equally the dismissive attitude of the establishment is exposed in the words of Vanity Fair
“if it amuses them and others I doubt if the tyrant has much to fear from their little arrows.”
little arrows, combined with the arrows of hundreds of thousands of
other women throughout these islands ensured that twenty years later the
right of many women to vote was finally enacted.
"Over the years
there have been many debates where the condescending voice of Vanity
Fair towards the Gore Booth sisters could easily fit in to the attitude
of the system towards women’s voices."The Kildare contingent included (l-r) Fionula McLoughlin TD, Marian Conlon, Yvonne Foley,
Marion Minivan and Mary Foran
. Photo: SligoToday.ie
editor, Ciarán McCarthy, pictured below,
was honoured to see his Godmother, Helena Malony listed as one of the 100 women featured in the exhibition.
Ms Malony was a noted m
of the Irish Citizen Army, fought in the 1916 Easter Rising and later
became the second woman president of the Irish Trade Union Congress. As a
labour activist, she was a close colleague of Countess Markievicz and
of James Connolly, whose secretary she was for a time.
Along with her career as an actress, a member of the Abbey Theatre and a prominent member of Cumann na mBan
, she found time to become the editor of the Inghinidhe na hÉireann (Daughters of Ireland) monthly newspaper, Bean na hÉireann.
the day (l-r) were Ciara Chambers, Deirdre Healy-McGowan, mary Allen,
Olive Brayden, Ethna Mac Sharry and Cllr Tom Mac Sharry. Photo: SligoToday.ie
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