Blazing a Trail exhibition / 04 - 18.01.2019

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DATES: 4th - 18th January 2019

VENUE: EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, CHQ Custom House Quay,Dublin 1

‘Blazing a Trail: Lives and Legacies of Irish Diaspora Women’ is a new exhibition running at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum from 4th - 18th January 2019. It celebrates the lives and legacies of 21 pioneering Irish diaspora women of the 19th and 20th centuries who blazed a trail in a wide range of fields. The exhibition is a collaboration between EPIC, Herstory and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

On the 20th November, the eve of the centenary when women were first given the right to run for parliament, we launched 'Blazing a Trail', the first exhibition celebrating Irish diaspora women & the first women's exhibition to run in the Irish Embassy network. The exhibition marks the centenary of partial women’s suffrage, the right of Irish and British women to vote in elections. Individual Irishwomen across the globe struggled for their own professional recognition, and for justice and equality for others.

Some of the Irish women featured in ‘Blazing a Trail’ include designer and architect Eileen Gray; computer programming pioneer Kay McNulty; poet, mystic and trade unionist Eva Gore-Booth; tennis champion Mabel Cahill; medical missionary Sr Dr Maura Lynch; and ‘most dangerous woman in America’ Mother Jones. As part of the exhibition, Hungarian artist Szabolcs Kariko has created original portraits of several of the women.

Watch the ‘Blazing a Trail’ video, featuring Tara Flynn, Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, Dr Ciara Kelly and Dr Niamh Shaw picking their most influential figures from the exhibition:

Emigration offered many women access to education, careers and other opportunities that may not have been available in Ireland. These women made their mark across the globe, innovating in every field and paving the way for others to follow, navigating a male-dominated society on their own terms.

‘Blazing a Trail’ is free and open to the public at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in the CHQ Building from 12–25 November 2018 from 9.30am-6.30pm, returning from the 4th - 18th January 2019. The exhibition will then travel to Irish embassies around the world over the coming years.

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I SEE YOU / 11 - 26.05.2018


World Premiere at Theatre Upstairs 
Written by Amy De Bhrún -- Starring Amy De Bhrún & Roxanna Nic Liam

Dates: 11th - 26th May 2018: Monday - Saturday @ 7PM / Wednesday + Saturday @ 1PM
Previews: €10.00 / €8.00 / General Admission: €12.50 / €10.00

Venue: Theatre Upstairs, Lanigan's Bar, 10 Eden Quay, D1 / 085 772 7375


Two women. A Century Apart. Same Story.

 “I See You” is an insight into the life of Limerick-born Lady Mary Heath, first female commercial pilot and all round trailblazer. Her untold story sank into the walls of history, where she remains to this day.

 Set against the backdrop of Modern Mary’s story – one of a middle class Irish woman, who discovers she is pregnant early on in an abusive relationship. Without any options available to her, she is forced to continue with her pregnancy, which inevitably leads to devastating consequences. 

 Through spoken word and soundscape, the two characters learn to communicate with each other – leading Modern Mary to make the biggest decision of her life.

 This is an immersive and female-led piece of theatre, which breaks the fourth wall. In fact, the only wall in this show is the one between them, encouraging these characters to become creative with their means of communication.

“I See You” explores how if women’s stories continue to go untold and unacknowledged, we will have no role models, and therefore repeat cycles of inequity, inhibiting our ability to evolve and move forward as powerful women in today’s society.

Banner image: Lady Mary Heath by Séan Branigan of Storyboard workshop

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Herstory: Suffragette Walking Tours / 15 - 19.03.18

Herstory: Suffragette Walking Tour

Venue: Starting from City Hall

Dates: 15th - 19th March

Time: 15th–16th: 5pm and 18th–19th: 11am

Tickets: €7

The suffrage movement in Ireland has been overshadowed by the events that took place in 1912-1923. This walking tour will highlight some of the key figures and events undertaken by very courageous women in their efforts to win equality for women. 

The suffrage movement came to the fore in the mid to late 19th century. Initially the movement relied on constitutional methods to win support for their cause, but in the early years of the 20th century, more campaigners began to emerge such as Hannah Sheehy Skeffington, Margaret Cousins, who set up the Irish Women’s Franchise League (IWFL) in 1908. They were followed by Louie Bennett and Helen Chenevix who founded the Irish Women’s Suffrage Federation in 1911. The IWFL was a more militant body with close ties to the Women’s Social and Political Union and Sylvia Pankhurst.

WWI changed the whole political spectrum in Ireland and from 1916 on, Irish independence dominated everything. But the suffragettes did not go away. Many supported the Independence movement, sadly though, in the new Ireland that emerged, the rights of women were far from realised.

Stops on the tour will include City Hall, Rosie Hackett Bridge, Nassau Street/Dawson Street and the Mansion House.

Supported by: 


Herstory: Revolutionary Religious Women / 18.03.18

Herstory: Revolutionary Religious Women

Date: Sunday 18 March

Venue: The Unitarian Church, 112 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2

Doors: 3.00pm, Start 3.30pm

Tickets: €7

As part of the St. Patrick’s Festival, Herstory will host events in landmark locations around Dublin city celebrating women’s stories throughout history.

Truth be told, women played a key role in the early development of many world religions. In this Herstory Salon lost legends and the forgotten feminine wisdom of Christianity, Islam and ancient pagan religion will be uncovered. From saints to goddesses, we will explore their life stories and the importance of honouring the Sacred Feminine Mary Magdalene emerges from the shadows with Khadijah, the Prophet Mohammad’s wife. The female disciples return, once lost by history, now rediscovered by Herstory. Have you heard of Thecla or Teia Tephi? Did you know that King Laoighre’s daughters saved the life of St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint? Think you know our matron St. Brigid? Think again.

Religion has dominated Irish life and permeated our culture for centuries. As we witness the demise of the church and the rise of celebrity culture; the crisis in spirituality, masculinity and femininity will be explored. In a world that has never been more unequal, we ask if it’s time for religions to evolve, acknowledge the role of women, the importance of the Sacred Feminine, and create future faiths based on equality and respect for both sexes? 

Speakers and performers include Tara Flynn (comedian, writer & actress, John Ennis (poet, academic & activist), Danushia Kaczmarek (author & spiritual teacher), Fatin Al Tamini, (activist & photographer), Melania Mora Tomas (member of the Baha'i Faith), Prajnamayi (member of the Triratna Buddhist Community) and the Swami from the Sikh faith.

Supported by: 


Herstory: Ireland of Equals / 16.03.18

Herstory: Ireland of Equals

Date: Friday 16 March

Venue: Freemasons Grand Hall, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2

Doors: 6pm & Start: 6.30

Tickets: €7

As part of the St. Patrick’s Festival, Herstory will host events in landmark locations around Dublin city celebrating women’s stories throughout history.

Generations of pioneering Irish women played a crucial role in the development of democracy in their own country and around the world. As we approach the centenary of the partial enfranchisement of Irish women, it is vital that we honour these women and their contribution to Irish and world history, and it is fitting that we do in the heart of Irish democracy.

In the Decade of Centenaries, egalitarian partnerships, personal and professional, from history and contemporary culture will be explored. You will discover that in nearly every remarkable woman’s biography, there was a man who saw her as an equal. Speakers reveal the dynamic duos who spearheaded the 1916 Rising and the Suffrage Movement at home in Ireland and abroad. ‘Ireland of Equals’ was the 1916 vision. Once perceived as visionary, the time has come to make it a reality.

Speakers include the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Senia Paseta (Professor of Modern History, Oxford University), Colm O' Gorman (CEO of Amnesty Ireland), Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington (Women’s Rights Activist and granddaughter of Hanna & Francis Sheehy-Skeffington), Dr. Mary Mc Auliffe (Historian and Assistant Professor of Gender Studies, UCD).  Each speaker is followed with a performance by young contemporary poets Rebecca T. Kealy, Melissa Ridge and Felicia Oulsanya.

Supported by: 


St. Hilda's Feminist Salon / 20.01.18

“Women in Oxford” in partnership with Herstory.

DATE: Saturday 20 January 2018, 5-7pm

VENUE: Senior Common Room, St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford

Speakers include Prof Patricia Daley, Rene Sharanya Verma, Dr Liz Woolley, “Women in Oxford’s History” podcasters, Melanie Lynch…

This event will be ticketed. Details to follow on Eventbrite. Please click here.

Salons are open to anyone. 

Salons are held in the Senior Common Room, St Hilda’s College.  The room is wheelchair accessible.

Please click here to read the blogpost by Herstory Founder Melanie Lynch

Athlone Herstory Salon / 20.11.17


VENUE: Earl of Rosse Theatre, Athlone Institute of Technology

DATE: 20.11.17

TIME: 7 - 9pm

The salon is free and open to the public.

Hosted by Caroline Coyle  and launched by Ruth Illingworth.

Speakers include Ruth Illingworth, Dr Teresa O Hara, Irena Djak Cvetkovic, Trish Nolan, Helen Nana Awinawhu, Dr Trish Heavey and Melanie Lynch.

Poetry and storytelling by Patrick Carton, Dr Rebecca D’arcy and Community Poetry and Storytelling Session with Sinead, Maria, Dermot, Amy, Brian, Ursula, Sadhbh, Chris, Paula, Mia.

PopUp Art Exhibition featuring art by Rosemarie Langtry, Tina Elliffe, Amy Barry, Natasha Barry, Erica Fellows Smith, Ursula Ledwith, Paul McGahey, Sadhbh Brereton, Dee McKiernan, Paula Sharkey, Patsy Preston, Caroline Coyle.


Illuminate Herstory / 5-8th JANUARY 2018

Illuminate Herstory LIGHT FESTIVAL

5-8th January 2018

Illuminate Herstory is a new annual global light festival celebrating women and girls. Every year the Christmas lights go out over the weekend of Nollaig na mBan (Women's Little Christmas). Join us on the 5 - 8th January 2018 and together we will illuminate the world with women.


"The fact is women's achievements and struggles have been lost in the shadows for too long, resulting in global inequality and a regression of women's rights. That's why Herstory is using light, to highlight women's stories and turn the spotlight on inequality." 



The beauty of light festivals is everyone can get involved - you can light up a national landmark or your living room. It's so simple. All you need is a light projector and some images from family photo albums or local archives. And there's no shortage of light projectors - you will find one in every classroom, boardroom, and bar. Illuminate Herstory is a grassroots festival and we hope people at home in Ireland will get involved and spread the word to friends and family in the Diaspora abroad.


For the official festival programme, there are 4 universal themes running over 4 nights, from 5-8th January 2018. From Monday 8th January 2018, the first day of the new school term, the #IlluminateHerstory theme is ‘Voices of the Future’. Students across the island of Ireland are invited to complete special workshops, illuminating classrooms with their heroines and visions for a ‘world of equals’ throughout the month of January. Click here to download the workshops.For the official festival programme, there are 4 universal themes running over 4 nights, from 5-8th January 2018. Click here to submit your event for inclusion in the programme. 

Herstory is calling on businesses to support this new light festival with an authentic thank you. Discover more.


Galway Herstory Salon / 20.06.17

Galway Herstory Salon / 20.06.17

Date: 20.06.17

Time: 6-8PM

Venue: NUI Galway – Aula Maxima Lower



Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha – A snapshot of four female poets in pre-tenth-century Ireland

Erin McCarthy – RECIRC: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700

Evan Bourke – A case study: Katherine Jones, Lady Ranelagh

Muireann O’Cinneide – Women Writing War: Ireland 1880-1922

Bronagh McShane – The Women’s History Association of Ireland

Carol Ballantine – ‘It’s always her fault’: Stigma and gendered shame

Bernadette Divilly – Ciúnas contemplative dance video and discussion

Sarah O’Toole – What Foremothers? play discussion

Justine Nakase – #WakingtheFeministsWest

Questions/group discussion

Light refreshments

Art exhibition Erstwhile: works by Dagmar Drabent, Bridget Guest, and Marina Wild (on display throughout the evening)

Herstory's 1st Birthday: Ireland’s Lost Muses / 25.05.17

Ireland’s Lost Muses

Celebrating Herstory's 1st birthday at the International Literature Festival Dublin

Date: Thursday, 25 May

Time: 6:00PM

Venue: Smock Alley Theatre

Price: €10 / €8

Herstory, which tells the lost life-stories of historical, contemporary and mythological women, celebrates its first birthday with a unique event! What makes a ‘muse’? Join speakers, including historian Dr Mary McAuliffe and author of Wilde's Women Eleanor Fitzsimons, to explore the multi-faceted lives of the women who inspired Yeats, Wilde and Joyce. From Maud Gonne to Nora Barnacle, meet the women you think you know but don't — and discover the fascinating characters once lost by history, now found by Herstory. For a twist, acclaimed contemporary poet Dani Gill will read poetry from her new collection 'After Love', recently published by Salmon Poetry and inspired by her male muse. 

Followed by a reception at The Workman's Club, Wellington Quay.

Presented in association with the International Literature Festival Dublin

Ulster Herstory Salon / 20.05.17


Date: 20 May 2017

Venue: Portrush Town Hall

Time: Doors Open at 18:30 FOR 21.00 start

Organiser: Angela Byrne

Contact details:


Ulster Herstory Salon Programme

Event launch by Dr Karise Hutchinson, Provost at Ulster University, Coleraine

‘HerStory: The Forgotten Women in Science’ by Dr Diane Lees-Murdock, Senior Lecturer, School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University

Music by Oonagh McArdle

The Bad Bridget Project by Dr Leanne McCormick, School of English and History, Ulster University

Reading by Elaine Donnelly, creative writer

‘“This is not a Success Story”: The Work of the Architect Florence Fulton Hobson’ by Dr Tanja Poppelreuter, Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory, Ulster University

‘Forgotten and Neglected Women Writers’ by Dr Katherine Byrne, Lecturer in English, Ulster University

Music by Oonagh McArdle

‘Unseen Women: Stories from Armagh Gaol’ and ‘Women's Vision from Across the Barricades’ by Dr Jolene Mairs Dyer, Lecturer in Media Production, Ulster University

‘Sisters in the Troubles’ by Dr Dianne Kirby, Reader in History, Ulster University

Questions from the audience

Closing words by Melanie Lynch, Herstory project founder

Maynooth Herstory Salon / 12.04.17

“Has Second Wave Feminism Ended?”

A Herstory Event

In conjunction with Feminist Society Maynooth & History Society Maynooth

12 April, 2017, 6.45PM - 9.00pm

VENUE: JHL2, John Hume Building on North Campus - CLICK HERE FOR MAP

Twitter Hashtag: #herstorymaynooth

6.45pm:     Wine Reception

7.00pm:     Opening Address by Katelyn Hanna & Maddie Murdock

7.05pm:     Dr Mary Muldowney

‘Demanding Equality. Irish Women Workers in the 1970s’

Mary Muldowney is an independent historian who is the author of many publications on Irish women’s history and labour history generally. She specialises in using oral history interviews as a primary source in her research and focusses particularly on ‘hidden voices’ and unsung heroes. She is one of the organisers of the Stoneybatter & Smithfield People’s History Project and is a founding member and former director of the Oral History Network of Ireland. She is the director of the Alternative Visions Oral History Group, whose members study the history of the labour movement and working class communities in Ireland. Mary also works as an adult education consultant, designing and delivering courses for community and trade union activists. Since the 1970s, she has been involved in various campaigning activities, including the pro-choice movement and workplace representation.

7.20pm:     Hazel Hogan

                  Performing a selection of her own poetry    

Hazel Hogan is a poet from Dublin. She is part of the spoken word and Graffiti collective OutStraight. Hazel has performed at events such as Electric picnic, Body & Soul, Lingo: A spoken word festival, NYF Dublin, F Festival, St. Patrick festival, First Fortnight festival, The Monday Echo, PETTYCASH and Come Rhyme with Me. She is also part of the Dublin City of Literature project, Dublin: A Year in Words. She is the co-founder of the poetry, music and variety night, Words in the Warehouse that happened in the Grangegorman squat. She has been published on RTE and some of her work can be viewed there. 

7.30pm:     Dr Sinéad Kennedy      

‘Well-behaved women seldom make history: Feminist struggle then and now’

Sinéad Kennedy teaches in the School of English, Theatre and Media Studies at Maynooth University where she is a Senior University Tutor and MA Co-Ordinator in Gender & Sexuality in Writing & Culture. Her research interests focus on critical theory, in particular the control and regulation of the female body by the neoliberal state. She has published widely on the politics of abortion in Ireland and internationally and has recently co-edited The Abortion Papers Ireland: Volume 2 (2015).  She has been involved in feminism and pro-choice activism for almost 20 years and she is a co-founder of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment. Follow her on Twitter @SineadmKennedy and keep up to date with her activism on 

7.45pm:      Avril Kealy

Performing a selection of her own poetry

Avril is a third year English and Anthropology student in Maynooth University. Ever since she was younger, she’s been massively interested in what it means to be female in our society. A lot of this has stemmed from her love of artists like Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey, whose music and artistic image, she believes, really explore the female condition in both its fragility and strength. Her poetry mainly focuses on sexuality, love and hurt from the female perspective, putting her own personal experiences to paper in an attempt to create something that serves as closure to her, but also that which is relatable to readers/listeners. Avril’s main aim in creating poetry is to give voice to the often censored parts of being a young Irish woman in the 21st century, emphasising the ugly, sad, taboo and painful parts of life.

7.55pm:     Break (More Wine)

8.00pm:     Dr Mary McAuliffe

‘‘Surfing that Second Wave’; The Ongoing Project of Re-visioning Women’s History’

Mary McAuliffe is an Assistant Professor / Lecturer in Gender Studies at UCD; specialising in Irish women's / gender history. Her research interests include Irish women's history, gender and war, memory and history, oral history, social and political history, public history and she has published in these areas. One of her most recent publications is 'Richmond Barracks 1916: We were There, 77 Women of the Easter Rising' which was chosen by Dublin Public Libraries as its book of the 2016 commemoration of the 1916 Rising. Mary was the President of the Women's History Association of Ireland (2011-2014) and is a member of the National Museum of Ireland Decade of Centenaries Commemoration Advisory Committee. As well as publications Mary also contributes to history documentaries, radio and TV. Keep up to date with Mary on her various Twitter accounts: @MaryMcAuliffe4, @Womenof1916 and @Kerry1916book

 8.15pm:     Alice Kinsella

Performing a selection of her own poetry

Alice Kinsella is an Irish poet, playwright, and fiction writer. Her poetry has been widely published, most recently in, Banshee Lit, The Pickled Body and The Irish Times. She has been shortlisted for competitions such as the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition 2016, and commended in the Jonathan Swift Awards 2016. Her video poem ‘When’, a feminist reworking of Kipling’s ‘If-‘ featuring sixteen female poets, was published in The Irish Times for International Women’s Day 2017. Her debut play ‘The Passing’ was devised as a part of ‘What’s the Story’ at the Liberties Festival 2016. ‘The Passing’ will be performed as a part of Little Shadow Theatre’s New Irish Playbook in May 2017. Find out more at or at

8.25pm:     Dr Jean Walker

‘“I'm not a feminist but…” Linking the post- Girl Power Generation to Feminism in the Context of Irish Women’s History’

Jean Mary Walker is on the executive committee of the WHAI (Women's History Association of Ireland) and the AHSI (Agricultural History Society of Ireland). She teaches electives on the social history of health and medicine and has a particular interest in gendered history in a Ireland.

8.40pm:     Laura Harmon (NWCI)

‘Making Waves: Feminism in Ireland Today’

Laura Harmon is the Women in Leadership Officer with the National Women’s Council of Ireland. She has previously worked in public relations and politics. She was president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) during the marriage equality referendum campaign and she served two terms as USI Equality and Citizenship Officer from 2012-2014. During her time in USI, Laura worked on a range of issues including women in leadership events, pro-choice campaigns and voter registration. She led the ‘Say Something’ survey project in 2013 – the first national study in Ireland on third level students’ experiences of sexual and physical violence, harassment and stalking. She is a board member of the National LGBT Federation of Ireland. Laura is a graduate of University College Cork with a BA in English and French and an MA in Applied Linguistics.

8.55pm      Closing Address by Melanie Lynch

(Founder of Herstory)

Herstory Hootenanny / International Women's Day 2017



DATE: 7.30PM, 8TH MARCH 2017 


TICKETS: €22 / Fundraiser event. Click here to book or call 01-6770014

A storytelling extravaganza in celebration of women on International Women’s Day 2017.  This special evening features comedy, poetry, theatre, music, mini talks and a few surprises. From ancient goddesses to contemporary heroines and mother mavericks discover the lost life stories of extraordinary women from Ireland and around the world.

Performers and speakers include Women Are Boring, Deirdre Sullivan, Amy De Bhrún, CandleLit Tales, Carina Fitzpatrick, Anna Carey, Rebecca T Kealy, Aideen Mc Queen and Fatin Al Tamini, to name but a few.

Suitable for ages 15+

Click here to book tickets or call Smock Alley box office: 01-6770014

Cork Herstory Salon / 20.03.16

Cork Herstory 20/20 Salon

DATE 20th March 2017, 7pm - 9pM (Doors open from 6.30pm)

VENUE: STAFF COMMON ROOM, University College Cork

All welcome to this free event, please register here

UCC Women’s Studies is delighted to host the March Herstory 20/20 Salon.

This Herstory Salon will provide a wide range of women’s stories; engineers, patrons, playwrights, innovators, feminists, and poets. The speakers include historians, campaigners, writers, students and scholars of literature, drama and applied social studies. All are interested in exploring the stories and experiences of women.

The evening will be a celebration of women, and the women whose work involves uncovering, analysing and celebrating Herstory everyday: the teachers and students of Women’s Studies at UCC.

Running Order

All speakers will speak for ten minutes

7.00: Opening address: President O’Shea, UCC

7.10: Amy Prendergast (TCD) Amy is an expert on eighteenth-century salons in Ireland, and their links with Britain and France. She will explain what Salons were, and share the stories of the women behind them.

7.20-8.00 Panel 1 (Women as creators)

Clíona Ó Gallchoir (Women’s Studies and School of English)

Shauna McGrath (Current Women’s Studies MA student)

Kathy D'Arcy (Women’s Studies and author)

Róisín O'Gorman (Women’s Studies and Drama and Theatre Studies)

8.00-8.10 Break/questions


Panel 2: (Feminism in action)

Liz Kiely and Máire Leane (Women’s Studies and Applied Social Studies)

Rola Abu Zeid O'Neill (Women’s Studies and ACE)

Orla Egan (Women’s Studies and Cork LGBT digital archive)

8.50-9.00 Questions

9.00 wrap up Melanie Lynch (Founder of Herstory)

Waterford Herstory Salon / 20.02.17

Waterford Herstory 20/20 Salon


7PM - 8.30PM

VENUE: Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Granary campus on the Quay in Waterford city

Free event, to book visit Booking is required as spaces are limited.

Waterford women are getting political and standing beside actress Meryl Streep and feminist academic Elaine Aston to form a network of resistance against Trump’s exclusionary tactics and the slight-of-hand discrimination against women that pervades contemporary politics and social structures. Work has been going on in Waterford in the last year to celebrate women and the next event scheduled is in association with entitled Waterford Herstory 20/20. The event will celebrate inspirational women from Waterford, past and present and will be hosted by Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Granary campus on the Quay in Waterford city on 20 February from 7pm – 8.30pm.

A number of guest speakers at the event will discuss inspirational, contemporary and historical Waterford women whose stories and experiences in the world of sport, broadcasting and business are aimed to inspire young men and women of the future. The Herstory salon series is part of series events to be scheduled nationwide this year on the 20th day of every month across the country in reaction to Donald Trump’s election and his reputation on equality and attitudes towards women in particular. 

Waterford Herstory 20/20 is a multi-partner event supported by DVF Printing: the Granary Café;;; the Equality Office and the Research Support Unit, TUI Equality WIT; the School of Humanities, WIT; the University of the Third Age, Tramore; Waterford City and County Council Library Services & Waterford City and County Archives, Waterford City and County Council; WIT Student's Union and hosted by Waterford Institute of Technology.

To book visit - booking required as spaces are limited.





TIME: 7.30PM



"From the shadows into the light, we will share women's stories from our families and communities, tales of lost national heroines and women who we admire around the world."

In the wake of Illuminate Herstory, DU Gender Equality Society, Global Development Society and DU History present:

------------ Trinity Herstory Salon ------------

Trinity Herstory Salon will celebrate the stories and achievements of women in Ireland and around the world.

On the day of Donald Trump's inauguration, we stand together in solidarity, attesting that women's voices will not be silenced in spite of current political affairs, we will not allow women's issues to be marginalised, and we will seek to celebrate these stories, lives and achievements of great women.

Speakers and performers include Senator Lynn Ruane, Jane Alden, Amanda Piesse, Dr. Ciaran O'Neill, Ellie Kisyombe, Rebecca T Kealy and Carina Fitzpatrick. See biographies below.



Carina is a jazz musician and performance artist based in Dublin. As an advocate for body positivity, autonomy and feminism she has been outspoken on her views about sexual objectification of women, censorship, representation, rape culture and victim blaming.

After a topless protest in July 2016, she has been associated with the Free the Nipple movement which acts as a platform for broader conversations about issues affecting women and seeks to dismantle gender inequalities by highlighting the absurdities of certain double standards.

Her passion for promoting body positivity comes from her background as a holistic therapist and yoga instructor. In her ten years working in the spa industry she learned a lot about her clients' feelings of vulnerability and their need for confidence and validation.

Fitzpatrick believes that there is a very real need to revolutionise the way that Irish people think about their bodies, sex, consent and gender. She wants to shift the focus from shame, stigma and consequences to a more inclusive and nuanced approach that addresses practicalities as well as pleasures.



Kealy describes herself as a multimedia artist and poet who lives and loves and loves living in an attic studio; near a river; somewhere in Dublin.
She is a proud host of the showcase Every Second Wednesday.
And she enjoys subversion, anarchy and long walks on the beach.

She'll be performing a spoken word piece about the Free the Nipple campaign and her experiences.



Dr O'Neill's research has mostly focused on elites and elite education, something very much at the core of both of his books, Irish Elites (2013) and Catholics of Consequence (2014). He also occasionally publishes on Irish literature 1890-1940, and has also become more and more interested in Public History since his time at TCD. He has mentioned that his next project will be about power; taken from what angle? We will have to wait and see.

Since 2014 Dr O'Neill has been the President of the SSNCI - an interdisciplinary society dedicated to the study of nineteenth-century Ireland. In addition to this he has also been involved with a group of likeminded historians working together in the Transnational Ireland Network, and in a global research network called SPECTRESS, funded by the European Commission.

Some of Dr O'Neill's publications can be found at



Lynn Ruane is a newly elected independent senator, serving in Seanad Éireann and is a former president of Trinity College Dublin's Students' Union. An early school leaver & single mother of two from Tallaght, she gained access to Trinity College in 2011 through the Trinity Access Programme as a mature student. Prior to her return to education, she worked for fifteen years as an addiction programme developer and community worker in west Dublin. As a senator, Lynn plans to be a passionate and vocal defender of education, a voice for the underrepresented in Irish politics and a challenger of inequality in all it's forms.



Ellie is an activist against the direct provision system in Ireland. As conversations on refugees are being heightened globally due to the continued humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean via Syria, the plight of the refugee remains the plight of our time. Ellie has been standing up and shouting out for the men, women and children of the direct provision system and is ready to tell us about what we can do to help.

While there was plenty of talk about direct provision in the past two years, there was very little action. The Malawian native has been in direct provision for over five years, and volunteers with the Irish Refugee Council on the End Direct Provision campaign. As a direct provision resident, she is barred from paid employment. Kisyombe’s message to government last April was, “Stop the suffering. Stop the damage. Hopes have been raised, please do not let us down again.”



Jane has worked at Trinity College Dublin, Stanford University, and is currently Associate Professor of Music at Wesleyan University. Her research addresses musical notation and visual culture in the medieval and modern eras, language and translation, and experimental musical practices. Her publications include the monograph Songs, Scribes, and Society: The History and Reception of the Loire Valley Chansonniers (Oxford University Press, 2010) and a number of articles on medieval and contemporary topics. She is currently writing a book on the Scratch Orchestra, participatory music-making, and the function of experimental notation. With degrees from Manchester University, King’s College, London, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Alden is active as a singer and conductor, seeing performance as the most effective way to reach out beyond academia to communicate with the wider public. In 2011, she formed the Vocal Constructivists, a London-based group of singers who specialize in performing graphic and text scores. Their album, Walking Still, is available on the Innova label.



Amanda Piesse works on early modern drama in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin where she has been employed since 1994. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the characterisation of women in late medieval and early modern drama and has published articles on women’s voices in English mystery and morality plays and Tudor moral interludes, on revenge tragedy and on individuality and identity in the sixteenth century. She also has research interests in children’s literature, and the two areas converge in the work she’s currently doing concerning children’s voices in early modern literature, and on the relationships between the very old and the very young in children’s books.




Illuminate Herstory is Ireland's new annual light festival celebrating women and girls. When the Christmas lights went out over the weekend of Nollaig na mBan (Women's Little Christmas) on the 5 - 8th January 2017, we illuminated the country with images of women. In the inaugural year, 16 counties / half the island of Ireland participated, lighting up castles, museums, libraries, theatres, offices and homes. From the shadows into the light, we shared women’s stories from our families, communities, tales of lost national heroines and women who we admire around the world. 

Click here for a list of Illuminate Herstory events NATIONWIDE.


Big plans are already underway for next year. Our objective is to start a new annual festival where Ireland inspires the world to celebrate women, just like the global greening on St. Patrick’s Day.

  Illuminate Herstory is for everyone

Every classroom and boardroom have projectors, every home is full of wonderful family photographs, and the national archives have incredible images of women. Whether you are a community group or a national organisation, everyone can get involved by organising an event. You can programme storytellers, performers and herstorians or keep it simple and host an intimate gathering of friends and family. Click here for ideas on how you can Illuminate at home.


Illuminate Herstory doesn't stop in Ireland. In 2018 we will be extending the invitation to the world to join us. You can spread the word to family and friends abroad and create an online illumination like Skype's Impossible Family Portrait project.


For press enquiries please contact Elevate PR: +353 1 662 5652

Herstory Salon @ THE IRISH TIMES / Culture Night 2016

The first Herstory Salon was the official Irish Times Culture Night event, produced in partnership with the award-winning Irish Times Women's Podcast. Our panel included Irish Times columnist and playwright Hillary Fannin, history lecturer Dr Jennifer Redmond and Professor Linda Doyle of Trinity College Dublin. They discussed the significance of salons for women throughout history, the thrill of rediscovering lost stories of women and the importance of women engaging in the latest technological developments including the Internet of Things. Presented by Kathy Sheridan there is music from MayKay of Fight Like Apes (Kathy's daughter!) plus eloquent exchanges of views on everything from iconic female musicians to #WakingTheFeminists.

Click here to listen to the salon on the IT Women's Podcast - it's Episode 56.

There will be more Herstory Salons in 2017. Watch this space!


The first Herstorytelling session was listed #4 in The Irish Independent from 3000 Culture Night events nationwide. TG4 filmed the event for The Roisin Show.

Herstory presented a magical night of storytelling, comedy, theatre, dance and music in celebration of Ireland’s extraordinary women at The Liquor Rooms on Culture Night, Friday 16th September from 8 - 12pm.

15 performers and speakers included Amy De Bhrún, Alison Spittle, Siofra O' Meara, Eve Darcy, Sinead Gleeson, Aideen McQueen, Eleanor Fitzsimons, Andre K'Por, Yvonne Usher, Genevieve Healy, Ashley Tubridy, Fiona Lowe, Sisters of the Rising, Dr. Anne Rosenbusch, Treasa Kerrigan and Dr. Jennifer Redmond. The Goddess Club hosted ‘Crazy in Love’ burlesque dance classes on the hour, every hour. 

To toast the bravery of Ireland’s remarkable women adventurers and explorers, The Liquor Rooms' mixologist made special cocktails in their honour, and An Olivia Chocolate captured the women’s characters in signature liquor chocolates to tempt the most discerning chocolate lover.

The event was attended by 910 people over the course of the night with a constant queue down the quays. Herstorian Sinead Mc Coole attended and she said she has never seen such a young audience so engaged with women's history.