Celebrating women in all walks of life

CULTURAL, business and political events were held in Co Kilkenny yesterday (Tuesday) to mark International Women’s Day – and, not to be content with limiting the festivities to one day alone, other events will be held until Friday.

CULTURAL, business and political events were held in Co Kilkenny yesterday (Tuesday) to mark International Women’s Day – and, not to be content with limiting the festivities to one day alone, other events will be held until Friday.

On the morning of this 100th International Women’s Day, local leaders in community development, business, education and other areas were convened the first – and possibly not the last – Dáil na mBan in County Hall. Invited by Kilkenny County Council cathaoirleach Catherine Connery, the capacity crowd of women had the opportunity to hear about the workings of the council and councillors, to meet some of the female members of Kilkenny County and Borough Councils, and to ask about political life.

The local representatives spoke of the challenges and the rewards of being active in political life, and – who knows? – possibly even inspired some of those present to consider doing the same in future years. They also offered words of congratulations to their colleague Ann Phelan who was elected to Dáil Éireann last month.

At MacDonagh Junction’s Workhouse Square, events took on a cultural aspect. The local 5 to 6 Women’s Art Project conducted clay workshops, and in the same venue the Kilkenny County Council Arts Office presented “But Still I Rise – Women In Words”. This saw female poets, singers, writers and actors performing their favourite poems, prose pieces, songs and monologues.

Students were also involved in the festivities, with Scoil Aireagail transition-year students presenting a display about the history of the day; Coláiste Pobail Osraí students showed the results of a study comparing men’s and women’s reactions to authority; and the Loreto Secondary School String Quartet provided lunchtime music.

Diversity was also celebrated on the day, with local Traveller women celebrating with a Mass for mothers and relaxation in O’Loughlin Court, and a dance performance by Sudanese women in MacDonagh Junction alongside performers from the Evelyn White School of Irish Dancing.

Business was the order of the day at a Business Women’s Network Luncheon, where Hope Foundation founder and director Maureen Forrest was the guest speaker and from which proceeds went to the Hope Foundation.

The evening then saw an art exhibition and flower-arranging workshop in Freshford and a triple bill of entertainment in the Set theatre, including Feminist Fairy Tales, a performance by Barnstorm Theatre Company’s adult drama group, and the Thukolo Gospel Choir.

The Carnegie Library at John’s Quay in the city presented oral-history recordings of local women and a display of female authors, and the venue is hosting a talk about Lady Desart tonight (Wednesday) at 7pm.

The on-going events for International Women’s Day also include a walking/ running workshop tonight (Wednesday) from 7-8pm at The Watershed. This workshop “Preparing for your first mini marathon” will cover warm-ups, stretches, and advice on training and nutrition (admission is e2).

An “April Walk and Fun Run Series” in conjunction with Gowran AC will then take place in Kilkenny Castle Park at 11am on April 3 (2km), April 10 (3km) and April 24 (5km). For more information, contact Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership on 056 7720870 or info@krsp.ie.