An inspiring day of celebration

Fr Sean O'Connor and the women who attended the Beoirs Coming Together Women's Mass in O'Loughlin Court Community Centre last Friday as part of the International Women's Day celebrations. Photo: Pat Moore.
AN INSPIRING day of events to mark International Women’s Day took place last Friday around the city.

AN INSPIRING day of events to mark International Women’s Day took place last Friday around the city.

On Friday morning a book of support and solidarity to the women of the Magdalene Laundries was opened at the Town Hall.

Later that morning traveller women from across the city and county gathered to celebrate Mass at the O’Loughlin Court Community Centre. Fr Sean O’Connor celebrated the Mass which was followed by refreshments and conversation.

Development worker with Kilkenny Community Traveller Movement, Winifred McDonagh explained the origins of the event which has been running for the past number of years at the centre.

“We asked the women in our community how they would like to celebrate the day. Religion is a very important part of our culture amd they said that they would like to celebrate it with a Mass as there is still a very strong faith amongst the women. Times are hard at the moment and a lot of people are turning the their faith.”

Winifred also explained how the centre provides information, service and access to members of the travelling community. “We are here to help and support travellers and to him educate and develop our own community. We want to showcase our own community and to show a positive side to our culture.”

However Ms McDonagh said that there were a lot of challenges facing women. “The community nurse and the school liasion officer have been taken away from us in the past year. That has been a big blow as both these positions provided a bridge and now these two vital services have been taken away.”

On Friday morning people also gathered at County Hall to hear a number of inspirational women share their experiences. Among those who spoke were Loretta O’Driscoll (agriculture), Eimear Conyard (Jewellery and Design), Michelle Smith de Bruin (Law), Carmel Farrell (Health and Wellbeing) and Captain Laura Keane from the Defence Forces.The day ended with Project Women staging The Monologues at The Watergate. Women from all walks of life participated in these unique event which saw new actors and writers share each other’s work.