Women and the Decade of Commemorations

Online Book Launch
Women and the Decade of Commemorations

Edited by Oona Frawley with contributions by Oona Frawley, Mary McAuliffe, Diane Urquhart, Laura McAtackney, Dianne Hall, Síobhra Aiken, Sonja Tiernan, Finnuala Walsh, Donna Gilligan, Margaret Ward, Eve Morrison, Roisín Higgins, Maeve Casserly, Brenda O’Connell, Sinéad Kennedy, Eli Davies, Linda Connolly

Tuesday 23rd March, 2021 at 6:00am AEDT (Melbourne) and 8:00am NZDT (Wellington); Monday 22 March at 7:00pm GMT (Dublin). Register for the event through Eventbrite. A Zoom link will be sent to registrants one day and again one hour before the event.

When women are erased from history, what are we left with? Between 1912 and 1922, Ireland experienced sweeping social and political change, including the Easter Rising, World War I, the Irish Civil War, the fight for Irish women’s suffrage, the founding of the Abbey Theatre, and the passage of the Home Rule Bill. In preparation for the centennial of this epic decade, the Irish government formed a group of experts to oversee the ways in which the country would remember this monumental time. Unfortunately, the group was formed with no attempt at gender balance. 

Women and the Decade of Commemorations, edited by Oona Frawley, highlights not only the responsibilities of Irish women, past and present, but it also privileges women’s scholarship in an attempt to redress what has been a long-standing imbalance. For example, contributors note the role of the Waking the Feminists movement, which was ignited when, in 2016, the Abbey Theater released its male-dominated centenary program. They also discuss the importance of addressing missing history and curating memory to correct the historical record when it comes to remembering revolution. Together, the essays in Women and the Decade of Commemorations consider the impact of women’s unseen, unsung work, which has been critically important in shaping Ireland, a country that continues to struggle with honoring the full role of women today.

What an impressive collection of scholarly insights and reflections on the many overlooked but hugely influential roles played by Irish women in those convulsive times through the Great War, the Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War. The eyes cast over the history of those times have often been blinkered. Facts, truths, perspectives and analyses which could have offered more complete account did not always make it through the embedded filters which both subtly and unsubtly skewed the narratives away from what the stories of women could add and infill. This collection of very fine essays helps redress the imbalance. It offers us important pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of our history that we did not know we had lost but that we have been lost without.
~Mary McAleese

Crucially, ‘to commemorate’ is ‘to call to remembrance’ and this volume of essays is a clarion call: making newly visible Irish women’s historical agency and international impact, and countering a century of oblivion and neglect.
~Margaret Kelleher

Published by Indiana University Press