The Root of Ireland’s Abortion Problem

Abortion is once again in the news in Ireland. Clare Daly’s latest attempt to introduce legislation reforming the laws on abortion in Ireland has failed. The Independent Socialist TD tabled a bill that would permit the termination of a pregnancy where a fatal foetal abnormality had been detected. It was defeated yesterday by 104 votesContinue reading “The Root of Ireland’s Abortion Problem”

Media Contribution: Contraception in Ireland

On Sunday, I joined Diarmaid Ferriter (UCD) in a discussion about the history of contraception with Myles Dungan on RTÉ’s The History Show. This month marks the 25th anniversary of The Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act, 1985. The legislation was introduced by the then Minister for Health, Barry Desmond, who explained in one interview, I regardContinue reading “Media Contribution: Contraception in Ireland”

Speaking at The Collins Institute & The Just Republic Launch

I was back in Dublin earlier this week to speak at the public launch of The Collins Institute, a new think tank set up with financial support from Fine Gael but ultimately independent of the party – a point made clear by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Institute Chair Marian Coy. The purpose of theContinue reading “Speaking at The Collins Institute & The Just Republic Launch”

Negotiating #SocMedia4Hist: Seminar at the IHR

Things have been a little quiet around the blog recently as I’ve been focussing on my Modern Wife, Modern Life exhibition, which opens at the National Print Museum (Ireland) in July 2015 and examines the perceptions and representations of women in 1960s Ireland as seen through the pages of women’s magazines. Happily, my crowd-funding efforts provedContinue reading “Negotiating #SocMedia4Hist: Seminar at the IHR”

Please Support Modern Wife, Modern Life exhibition on Fund It

Modern Wife, Modern Life is my exhibition running at the National Print Museum of Ireland  between August and October 2015. It explores the idea of the ‘modern wife’ in 1960s Ireland as seen through the pages of women’s magazines. Please consider showing your support for the exhibition by donating on Fund It. A private tour for you and two guests, a limited edition booklet,Continue reading “Please Support Modern Wife, Modern Life exhibition on Fund It”

Modern Wife, Modern Life Exhibition at the National Print Museum of Ireland

I am delighted to announce that the National Print Museum of Ireland has agreed to host my exhibition, Modern Wife, Modern Life. It will run between August and October 2015.

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

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 SexualContinue reading “(When) Should Children be Told the Facts of Life?”

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

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, thisContinue reading “‘Obvious Child’: a Refreshing Take on Abortion in Film”

Can you help? Crowd-sourcing the 1960s

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’sContinue reading “Can you help? Crowd-sourcing the 1960s”

Would you bare all on an Irish beach?, Irish Independent

Gabrielle Monaghan of the Irish Independent recently contacted me to learn more about Irish attitudes towards the body as part of the research for her article on nudity. I’m quoted towards the end of the piece, which you can read in full here.

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

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 adviceContinue reading “Pushing the Boundaries: Sex Advice in Women’s Magazines, 1960s Ireland”

Advertising Domestic Violence?

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 wereContinue reading “Advertising Domestic Violence?”

Generating a Conference via Social Media

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 theContinue reading “Generating a Conference via Social Media”

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

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 theContinue reading “Round-Up: The State of Ireland, 1914 Conference #TSOI1914”

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

  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.    

A Graveyard with Character

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 inContinue reading “A Graveyard with Character”

Launch of First World War Centre, University of Hertfordshire

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 museumsContinue reading “Launch of First World War Centre, University of Hertfordshire”

Locating Men in Abortion Narratives

How do we locate men in abortion narratives? With our Perceptions of Pregnancy conference just around the corner, Jennifer Evans and I have been keeping an eye on newspapers for stories relating to pregnancy. This story from The Guardian caught our attention: Ohio’s state assembly has tabled a bill that, if passed into law, would give fathersContinue reading “Locating Men in Abortion Narratives”

#OnThisDay: Fine Gael accepts Declan Costello’s Just Society

It has been fifty years since the Fine Gael parliamentary party unanimously voted to send Declan Costello’s proposals for a Just Society to its policy committee. The outcome was Towards a Just Society, unveiled at the 1965 general election as the party’s manifesto. It was not the type of document that Irish voters have grown accustomedContinue reading “#OnThisDay: Fine Gael accepts Declan Costello’s Just Society”

What Makes a Good Wife?

I was back in the National Library of Ireland today to continue reading copies of Woman’s Way from the 1960s. I’ve been exploring back issues of the magazine for what they can reveal about how women were represented and perceived. Yesterday, I wrote about the arrival of the fridge and the contribution it made to the housewife’s day-to-dayContinue reading “What Makes a Good Wife?”

Refrigerators: The New Approach to Home Life

If there’s one comment guaranteed to provoke a reaction in my classroom, it’s my suggestion that the arrival of the washing machine had a greater impact on the lives of women than the vote. It’s a remark that is usually met with shocked looks. I’m not downplaying the importance of the vote, but, as IContinue reading “Refrigerators: The New Approach to Home Life”