Conference programme




Panel 1: Folklore and folklife (PFC2/18)

    • Fionnuala Carragher (National Museums of Northern Ireland, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum), ‘Rose Shaw, photographer’
    • Anne O’Dowd (National Museum of Ireland – Country Life), ‘Singed straws, twisted hay and spread rushes.  Straw, hay and rushes in the lives of women in rural Ireland’
    • Christina Brophy (Triton College, River Grove, Illinois), ‘“Her own and her children’s share”: rural women, luck, and imaginative resistance in twentieth-century Irish folklore’
    • Vivienne Pollock (National Museums of Northern Ireland, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum), ‘Rural women and early Irish photography: the F. J. Bigger Collection’


3.30-3.45 Tea/coffee break



Panel 2: Marriage, reproduction and domestic life (PFC2/11)

  • Leanne Calvert (Queen’s University Belfast), ‘“He came to her bed pretending courtship”: sex, sexual activity and the making of marriage in Ireland, c. 1750-1800’
  • Jean Walker (Maynooth University), ‘After she said “yes”: marriage and women in rural Ireland, 1900-1975’
  • Liam Kennedy (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster University), ‘Whatever happened to Limbo? A social and demographic exploration for twentieth-century Ireland’


Panel 3: International contexts (PFC 2/18)

  • Leanne McMullan (Ulster University), ‘Wanted: “women, maids young and uncorrupt”: female indentured servitude in Colonial America’
  • Krysta Beggs-McCormick (Ulster University), ‘Ulster women’s roles in the abolition of slavery and the Quaker connection’
  • Pirita Frigren and Pasi Saarimaki (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), ‘Overview on Finnish women’s and gender history and the case study of single women’s economic survival’


Wine reception (OSCR)

Rosa Meehan (National Museum of Ireland – Country Life), ‘Migrant women: shared experiences’ [introduction and film short]


Launch of Christina Brophy and Cara Delay (eds), Women, Reform, and Resistance in Ireland, 1850-1950 (Palgrave, 2015)




Panel 4: Consumerism (OSCR)

  • Paul O’Brien (Mary Immaculate College), ‘“This is the size of your apples, they are scarce this year and the robbers plentiful”: Businesswomen in provincial Ireland, the letters of Flo Clancy, 1938-1948’
  • Sorcha O’Brien (Kingston University, London), ‘“Look what Santa’s brought for you, mummy”: women, domesticity and the vacuum cleaner in 1950s and 1960s Ireland’
  • John Porter (Trinity College Dublin), ‘Women and the rural electrification process’


Panel 5: Outsiders or outcasts (Lan/G/49)

  • Seaneen Larkin (Ulster University), ‘“Women in the mad house”: women and insanity in the Omagh District Lunatic Asylum, 1845-1914’
  • Ciaran McCabe (NUI Galway), ‘Women, alms-giving and begging in pre-Famine Ireland: rural/urban distinctions’
  • Lynsey Black (Trinity College Dublin/Dublin Institute of Technology), ‘Rural life and condemned women in Post-Independence Ireland’.


11.00-11.30 Tea/coffee break


11.30-12.30 (Senate)

Keynote: Professor Jane Whittle (University of Exeter), ‘So what is work exactly? Examining women’s and men’s work activities in a rural, preindustrial economy’


12.30-1.30 Lunch

(12.45-1.15 WHAI AGM)



Panel 6: Comparative contexts (OSCR)

  • Bernadette Whelan (University of Limerick), ‘Reading and the rural woman in Ireland, 1900-60’
  • Carmel Gilbride (Eneclann), ‘Urban/rural comparatives: rural Dublin’
  • Mary McKee (Findmypast), ‘Combating invisibility and isolation: Cara-Friend’s work with queer women living in rural Ireland, 1974-1994’


Panel 7: Early-modern women (Lan g/49)

  • Valerie McGowan-Doyle (Lorain County Community College/John Carroll University), ‘“It were better to hold some farm in the English Pale whereby you may lead a quieter life”: women, contested land and violence in early Elizabethan Ireland’
  • Jim O’Neill (Queen’s University Belfast), ‘Women in Tyrone’s Rebellion (1593-1603): addressing an empty narrative’
  • Frances Nolan (University College Dublin), ‘The records of the Trustees for the forfeited estates in Ireland (1700-3): a source for the history of women in rural Ireland’


3.00-3.15 Tea/coffee break



Panel 8: Women leaders (OSCR)

  • Siobhan Horgan-Ryan (independent researcher), ‘Grey and Scarlet with a Touch of Green: Irish members of the permanent British army nursing services, 1881-1914’
  • Catriona Delaney (University of Limerick), ‘Urban-rural divide?: A case study of the delivery of post-primary education by the Presentation Order, 1940-58’
  • Peter Moser (Archives of Rural History, Bern) and Tony Varley (NUI Galway), ‘Exceptions that prove the rule? Women leaders of farmers’ movements in twentieth-century Switzerland and Ireland and their treatment by historiography’


The WHAI annual conference 2016 is organised locally by Elaine Farrell, Leanne McCormick and Mary O’Dowd. The organisers are grateful for the support of the School of History and Anthropology, Queen’s University Belfast, and the Women’s History Association of Ireland.