History Ireland magazine

I’m really pleased to have a piece in the July/August 2018 edition of History Ireland magazine. My article examines at Irish attitudes towards sex and the body, with particular reference to the ‘guilt complex’ experienced by women once married. I look at how magazines like Woman’s Way and Woman’s Choice published sex positive messages in attempt to alleviatingContinue reading “History Ireland magazine”

Public Event: 90th Anniversary of ESB

I was delighted to receive an invitation to speak at an upcoming partnership event between the Irish Society for Archives and ESB to mark the 90th anniversary of the latter. My talk will explore the impact that electricity had on women’s domestic lives, a theme I’m currently working on in two ways. My current project examinesContinue reading “Public Event: 90th Anniversary of ESB”

Monica McEnroy & the Women’s Movement in 1960s Ireland

Who is Monica McEnroy? I’ve taken annual leave from work this week so that I can focus on my book manuscript. To explain briefly, the book is about representations and expectations of Irish women in the 1960s as seen through the lens of women’s magazines. I’m currently tackling the chapter on 1960s motherhood, which has causedContinue reading “Monica McEnroy & the Women’s Movement in 1960s Ireland”

‘Am I Pregnant?’: Women’s Magazines as a Source of Information

I’ve been blogging about 1960s women’s magazines as sources of information about pregnancy in a pre-digital age over on the Perceptions of Pregnancy blog. When I was fifteen, I had intercourse. I’m nineteen now and though I get periods regularly I wonder if I could become pregnant as a result of what happened then.[1] WhenContinue reading “‘Am I Pregnant?’: Women’s Magazines as a Source of Information”

Sex Education Without the Sex

I like to dip into previously watched programmes on Netflix whenever I’m too tired to fully concentrate but want to unwind by watching some TV. Recently, I’ve taken to watching Orange is the New Black again. Early on in episode four of season two, viewers find Poussey, Taystee, Suzanne ‘crazy eyes’, Black Cindy and Janae inContinue reading “Sex Education Without the Sex”

1960s Housewives: Content or Unconsciously Oppressed?

This post is really just me thinking out loud, as I try to work through one of the research questions with which I’m grappling at the moment: were Irish housewives in the 1960s content, or were the unconsciously oppressed? Thinking about it is leading me into the realms of philosophical debate.

Single Women in the 1960s

Cinemas are currently showing the trailer for Bridget Jones’s Baby, the third instalment in the franchise which will be released later this year. Renée Zellweger has reprised the role of Bridget Jones, the woman who popularised the term ‘singleton’. Before I read Helen Fielding’s novels, I can’t honestly say that I’d previously heard the term ‘singleton’.Continue reading “Single Women in the 1960s”

Modern Wife, Modern Life Exhibition One Year On

Just over one year ago, Modern Wife, Modern Life: an Exhibition of Women’s Magazines from 1960s Ireland opened at the National Print Museum in Dublin (1 July – 30 August 2015). Since then, it has gone on to visit dlr LexIcon in Dún Laoghaire, Wexford Town Library, and Westport Library in Mayo. Leaving Ireland this summer, theContinue reading “Modern Wife, Modern Life Exhibition One Year On”

The Dangers of Washing Machines

There’s a lot of waiting around during the blessings of the graves, especially in cemeteries like St Colmcille’s in Swords, North County Dublin. My mum’s family are buried in the older part of the cemetery, towards the back, and as the blessings start in the newer section, it always takes a while for the priestsContinue reading “The Dangers of Washing Machines”

Selling to women through 1960s magazine advertorials

I’m currently writing a chapter on the all-electric house for my book about everyday lives in 1960s Ireland. Past readers of this blog will know that I’m using women’s magazines as a way of establishing trends and expectations. Leafing through the pages of the magazines, a particular type of article recurs: the advertorial. These pieces explored variousContinue reading “Selling to women through 1960s magazine advertorials”

Researching everyday life in Carlow

I’ve spent most of this week in the local studies section of Carlow County Library listening to the county’s Life and Life collection. Life and Lore is a series of oral testimonies from around the country that have been collected by Maurice and Jane O’Keeffe since the 1990s. They provide an important record not only of everydayContinue reading “Researching everyday life in Carlow”

Podcast: Expectations of Marriage in 1960s Ireland

Image: Marian Keyes, Senior Executive Librarian at dlr LexIcon, introducing Ciara Meehan and Lorna Sixsmith. Credit: Michael Liffey / Real Smart Media. On 31 October, dlr LexIcon hosted a special event in association with my Modern Wife, Modern Life exhibition.  I was joined by Lorna Sixsmith, author of the recently published How to Be a Perfect Farm Wife, to discussContinue reading “Podcast: Expectations of Marriage in 1960s Ireland”

Are you a good housewife?, The Irish Times

Woman’s Way was Irelands biggest selling magazine in 1960s Ireland. In this culture video for The Irish Times’  digital section, I looks at what made it so popular and what it tells us about Ireland at the time. Watch the video here.

(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?”

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”

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?”

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”

The Sewing Machine, The Household and Times Past

Fashion before the age of mass production was the subject of a fascinating post from the blog of Dr Niamh Cullen recently: In my research on dress in post-war Italy, people’s experiences of dressmaking were of course entirely different. Sewing wasn’t a pastime; it was an integral part of household management. Right up to the 1960s,Continue reading “The Sewing Machine, The Household and Times Past”

From the Letters Page: The Values of Ordinary Irish Women

In her Cottage to Creche, Finola Kennedy refers to a survey carried out between 1984-85 that found very few housewives had identified with the Women’s Movement of the 1970s.  Because women’s issues feature quite prominently in parts of my new book, when I was writing A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-87, I wanted to gauge the reaction of ordinary, non-politicisedContinue reading “From the Letters Page: The Values of Ordinary Irish Women”