Irish history features a vast list of incredible female heroes who undoubtedly made their mark on the world. Irish women have had a tremendous influence on their nation and the world. Examples include the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley and the poet and political activist Constance Markievicz. Their impact has been significant in terms of culture, politics, and economics.
These famous Irish women left behind an incredible legacy. In honor of International Women’s Day, here is our curated list of 20 Irish women you should know. These women have all made an indelible impression on Irish society, and their stories inspire us profoundly.
1 – Constance Markievicz
Constance Markievicz was an Irish nationalist, politician, and revolutionary leader. She was the first female cabinet minister in the British House of Commons in 1918. Markievicz was a member of 1916 Rising and played a critical role in the Irish struggle for independence.
2 – Kathleen Lynn
Kathleen Lynn was an Irish nationalist, suffragist, politician, medical doctor, and active member of the 1916 Rising. Lynn was the first female Irish medical doctor and co-founded the first children’s hospital in Ireland.
3 – Rosie Hackett
Rosie Hackett was a famous Irish trade unionist, feminist, and veteran of the 1916 Easter Rising. She became a central figure in the Irish trade union movement. During her time in the Irish Women Workers’ Union, Rosie continuously advocated for women’s rights.
4- Sonia O’Sullivan
Sonia O’Sullivan is a national hero here in Ireland. She brought home gold medals at the World Championships and European Championships. Her achievements made her one of the greatest female athletes of all time.
5 – Delia Larkin
Delia Larkin was a famous Irish trade unionist, feminist, and co-founder of the Irish Women Workers’ Union. As a key figure in the Irish Women’s Movement, she pushed for equal rights and better wages for women. Larki also held a leading role in the campaign to establish the Irish Free State in 1922.
6 – Elizabeth O’Farrell
Elizabeth O’Farrell was a nurse and member of the Irish Citizen’s Army. She played a crucial role in the 1916 Easter Rising. This strong woman delivered the surrender order to the British forces, becoming instrumental in the establishment of the Irish Free State.
7 – Julia Grenan
Julia Grenan was a famous Irish feminist, activist, and veteran of the 1916 Easter Rising. Julia, a passionate advocate for women’s rights, was a member of the Irish Women’s Franchise League. Similarly, she was a leading figure in the Irish suffragette movement. Julia also founded the Free Speech League while persistently opposing censorship.
7 – St. Brigid of Kildare
St. Brigid of Kildare is the female patron saint of Ireland. She was a passionate advocate for charitable works, founded several Montessoris throughout Ireland, and is a significant figure in Irish history.
8 – Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland, is famously known for continuously fighting for human rights. She became an influential figure in Irish independence and a strong advocate of women’s rights. Mary was the founder and leader of the Irish Women’s Council, and during her leadership, she fought for social justice and an Irish Free State.
9 – Mary McAleese
Mary McAleese was the eighth President of Ireland and the first woman to become elected for a second term. She is a women’s rights advocate who also led the Belfast Agreement. McAleese actively fought for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
10 – Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor is the literal definition of a strong Irish woman. At a young age, the former professional boxer started boxing and became one of the greatest female boxers on earth.
12 – Margaret O’Carroll
Máirgréag Ní Chearbhaill, also known as Margaret O’Connor, is an Irish noblewoman who was “beloved of all people of Leinster”. Margaret had a deep love for literature and art. She generously contributed to the church by providing various valuable items.
13 – Lady Jane Wilde
Lady Jane Wild (Mother of the unspeakable Oscar Wild) was an Irish poet. She was also known for her political activism. She had a significant impact on the Irish literary revival.
14 – Dr. James Barry
Dr. James Barry was a successful physician and surgeon who performed the first cesarean section in the British Empire. Holding a female gender at birth, some believe he was a trans man. His gender identity makes his life significant in the history of queer and trans stories in western science.
15 – Anna Parnell
Anna Parnell was a prominent figure in Irish nationalist and independence movements in the late 19th century. She was the sister of Charles Stewart Parnell, a leading political figure in the fight for Irish home rule.
16 – Grace O’Malley
Grace O’Malley was an Irish pirate queen and legendary figure in Irish history. This fierce warrior ruled the vast Irish seas in the 16th century. She was a skilled navigator and is a significant figure in Irish Folklore.
17 – Hanna Sheehy Skeffington
Hanna Mary Sheehy Skeffington was an activist and Irish nationalist who fought for women’s voting rights. In 1908 Johanna co-founded the Irish Women’s Franchise and later became a founding member of the Irish Women Workers’ Union.
18 – Lilian Bland
Lilian Bland was an Irish aviation pioneer. She was the first woman in Ireland to design and build her airplane. She is now widely regarded as one of the most significant female aviators.
To sum it up!
There you have it – 20 incredible Irish women who have made a lasting impression on their nation and the wider world. From Constance Markievicz to Lilian Bland, these women remind us of the strength and resilience of the Irish. Let us raise a glass to these astonishing Irish women who have impacted their nation and the world.
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