Running somewhat against the tide in this year centred and focused on centenaries, Kilkenny Archaeological Society have selected for their November offering lectures highlighting some Kilkenny women of note.
The Society has identified a number of Kilkenny women who have been in their day trail blazers at the time for their sex.
Three such women [from many worthy of consideration in this regard] will feature in a series of presentations by members of the society in Rothe House on Wednesday next (November 23rd ) at 8.00pm. Each of the women made notable strides and dents in the very real ‘glass ceiling’ in very different areas of human endeavour.
Dr Kathleen McColgan-Barry was Ireland’s the first appointed County Medical Officer of Health and in that position played a major role in bringing modern medical thinking, free of male dominated, ‘concerns about such delicate matter’ to Kilkenny.
Mrs Annie Laracy, generations before was among the first women to be active and energetic in local politics. In consequence she is numbered among the very first women to be elected to the then emerging Local Government world during the last decade of the 19th century.
Miss Maeve Shankey perhaps better know as Maeve Kyle OBE was Ireland’s first lady Olympian. Hard to credit today but that distension brought with it odium and widely expressed concern once again from conservative males – not untypical of their time - who professed to be everything from “uncomfortable to outraged” at the thought of genteel ladies “working up a sweat” on a race track in full view of a large audience.
The three lectures highlight the achievements of these women in very different areas of activity. But each in their own time faced the same mutterings of disapproval (often far from quite). The presentations are likely to turn a fascinating spotlight on a period of modern Irish history that gives us all an opportunity to remind ourselves of how far Ireland has come in a short generation or two.
Kilkenny Archaeological Society lectures are open to all interested in the topic under discussion.