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”

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?”

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?”

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”

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”

Launch by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, of ‘A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-87’

My latest book, A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-87, was launched by An Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at the National University of Ireland. I was honoured that the Taoiseach and members of the Costello family, including the late Declan Costello’s wife Joan, were in attendance. I am also extremelyContinue reading “Launch by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, of ‘A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-87’”

Political Posters and Voter Engagement

I’m on a flying visit to Dublin this weekend to attend the Magdalene Laundries symposium this Saturday at Liberty Hall — hopefully more on that in a forthcoming post.  If I’d managed to escape the Seanad referendum living in England (I haven’t), I was promptly reminded that a campaign is underway by the proliferation of postersContinue reading “Political Posters and Voter Engagement”

Ireland’s First Political ‘Talkie’: W.T. Cosgrave on Film (1933)

Along with Dr Jason Knirck (Central Washington University) and Dr Mel Farrell (NUIM), I am editing an anthology of 1920s Ireland. We have a great line up of contributors — both established and upcoming academics — and a diverse range of topics. In considering the subject of my chapter, I was immediately drawn to the area I foundContinue reading “Ireland’s First Political ‘Talkie’: W.T. Cosgrave on Film (1933)”

‘There is an evil growing’: Views on Mixed Marriages (1917)

Thursday’s post — ‘Your Husband Comes First in the House’: a (Catholic) Guide for the Young Wife (1938) — attracted a lot of interest. It was re-tweeted numerous times, re-blogged and reproduced on and Thank you to everyone who took an interest.  If you didn’t read the post, it looked at a bookletContinue reading “‘There is an evil growing’: Views on Mixed Marriages (1917)”

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”

In Pictures: Kilmainham Gaol

Mondays have taken on a recent tradition of visits to various historical sites around Dublin by Pamela and I in pursuit of ideas for my new book on Dublin in the Revolutionary period. Today, it was off to Kilmainham Gaol. I’ve been on several occasions previously, always with students in tow. And while I reallyContinue reading “In Pictures: Kilmainham Gaol”

Lost Leader, Neglected Leader: Michael Collins and WT Cosgrave

Much of Fine Gael’s past is now of the stuff of history.  Fine Gael is content to leave it … to the ultimate judgement of the historian. I was reminded of this quote from an off-the-peg election speech from 1954 while reading Stephen Collins’ Irish Times column about the annual Parnell summer school, which starts onContinue reading “Lost Leader, Neglected Leader: Michael Collins and WT Cosgrave”

Glasnevin Cemetery: Where the Stories of the Ordinary and the Powerful Intertwine

I visited Glasnevin Cemetery this morning as part of my research for the new book I’m writing on Dublin in the revolutionary period.  With Pamela (my ‘research assistant’ / partner in crime) in tow, I intended to have a look at the graves of the Republican Plot and maybe visit those of other powerful figuresContinue reading “Glasnevin Cemetery: Where the Stories of the Ordinary and the Powerful Intertwine”

Conducting Non-Elite Research Interviews

  Sitting in Fixx Coffee House on Dawson Street recently, I waved at two men who walked in separately just after three pm.  The only thing that they had in common was that they arrived alone, and appeared to cast an eye around as though looking for someone.  Neither of the them looked anything alike.Continue reading “Conducting Non-Elite Research Interviews”

Living in the Shadow of History: Swords

With a view like this from the window of my childhood bedroom, it’s probably not all that surprising that the past has captured my imagination.  I grew up conscious that I was living in the shadow of the 80-foot-tall residence of the Plunkett family who had resided at Dunsoghly Castle between the fifteenth and nineteenthContinue reading “Living in the Shadow of History: Swords”

Book Cover: A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-1987

The production process for my new book – A Just Society for Ireland?  1964-87 – is progressing smoothly.  I recently received the finalised cover from my publisher, Palgrave Macmillan.  All going well, the book will be launched in November this year.  To view the cover and contents page, see below.

Declan Costello’s Just Society: A Fine Gael Symbol of Progress or of Division?

Declan Costello died on 6 June 2011.  Profiles of the former Fine Gael TD following his death made continuous references to his Just Society document, published as the Fine Gael manifesto for the 1965 general election.  In his tribute, Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny described the document as ‘an initiative that helped toContinue reading “Declan Costello’s Just Society: A Fine Gael Symbol of Progress or of Division?”

‘The Riordans’, Popular Culture and Negotiating Social Change

Did you watch RTÉ’s The Riordans? If so, can you help with a research project? Details below. In my last post, I wrote about some of the ways that the lives of women changed as the 1970s progressed. One of the topics discussed was the legalisation of the sale of contraceptives. As I mentioned in thatContinue reading “‘The Riordans’, Popular Culture and Negotiating Social Change”

1970s Ireland: A Good Place for Women?

Over the last week, a particular newspaper article has repeatedly popped up on twitter.  It was published in December 2012 in the Galway Advertiser, but I don’t actually recall seeing much about it at the time.  However, I’m not surprised that it has been so frequently tweeted and re-tweeted.  The headline alone – ‘Ten thingsContinue reading “1970s Ireland: A Good Place for Women?”