September 13, 2014

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(When) Should Children be Told the Facts of Life?

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In my latest research into everyday lives in the 1960s using women’s magazines as my main source, I have noticed repeated references to the facts of life and different debates about the extent to which children should receive sex education. During the week I stumbled across the 2006 main report from the Irish Study of Sexual […]

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September 6, 2014

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‘Obvious Child': a Refreshing Take on Abortion in Film

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As my research on unwanted pregnancy touches on depictions in popular culture, I headed into London earlier today to see the film Obvious Child. Briefly, the plot centres on Donna Stern, a late-twenty-something woman who has an abortion after a one-night stand. But rather than trotting out the familiar cliches that audiences have almost come to expect, this […]

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September 1, 2014

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Can you help? Crowd-sourcing the 1960s

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My current research project focusses heavily on the 1960s, looking at everyday lives in general and the domestic setting in particular. There are three strands to the outputs for this project: a book, journal article and an exhibition (more on that at a later stage). My research to date has been concentrated mostly on women’s […]

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August 4, 2014

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Pushing the Boundaries: Sex Advice in Women’s Magazines, 1960s Ireland

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Manuals on how to be a good wife were widely available in Ireland at the start of the twentieth century. Publications such as The Young Wife (1938 edition), provided women with practical advice on such matters as housekeeping and budgeting, or emotional guidance on understanding and caring for her husband. They did not, however, generally offer advice […]

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July 27, 2014

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Advertising Domestic Violence?

Kincora Carpets advertisement

Last week afforded me the opportunity to spend the week at the National Library of Ireland continuing my research on the everyday lives of Irishwomen. I was working my way through copies of Woman’s Way magazine from the mid-1960s when I discovered somewhat unsettling advertisements for Kincora Carpets. The advertisements recognised the fact that women were […]

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July 19, 2014

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Generating a Conference via Social Media

Directions to the Perceptions of Pregnancy Conference

Almost one year after Jennifer Evans and I began talking about the possibility of organising a conference that would explore pregnancy throughout history, the event has drawn to a successful conclusion. On 16 July, we welcomed a very international delegation to the University of Hertfordshire for three days of discussion on perceptions of pregnancy from the […]

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June 14, 2014

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Round-Up: The State of Ireland, 1914 Conference #TSOI1914

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I’ve been in Manchester for the past couple of days to attend The State of Ireland, 1914, conference organised by Dr Katherine Fennelly and Dr Patrick Doyle of the University of Manchester.  While discussion of the First World War and the Irish Revolution naturally could not be escaped, it was really refreshing to consider 1914 beyond the […]

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June 11, 2014

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Column: Policy changes conceived in Costello’s ’Just Society’ (Irish Examiner)

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  The Irish Examiner published a column today from me on Declan Costello’s Just Society, marking fifty years since Fine Gael adopted his proposal as official party policy. Now considered a milestone in its history, the document divided the party at that time.   Read the piece in full here.    

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June 9, 2014

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A Graveyard with Character

Graveyard

I’m back in Dublin for a few days. With the blessing of the graves just around the corner, I went with my Dad to water the flowers on our family plot. The graveyard has always intrigued me. According to local folklore, an underground tunnel connects Dunsoghly Castle (which I’ve previously mentioned here) with the former church that lies in […]

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June 5, 2014

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Launch of First World War Centre, University of Hertfordshire

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Last night I was at the launch of the First World War centre at the University of Hertfordshire. There was a great turnout for an evening of soap-boxes, a Roadshow of artefacts and ephemera, and a production of J.M. Barrie’s play, A Well-Remembered Voice (1918).  In addition to academics from other universities and representatives from such museums […]

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