Posthumous honour for three women of Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Pictured with scrolls from Limerick City and County Council were: Richard Langford, relative of Charlotte Grace O'Brien, Iseult Murphy, relative of Sophie Mary Peirce and John O'Brien, Kate O'Brien's nephew. Picture: Sean Curtin
ACCLAIMED city writer Kate O’Brien has been given one of Limerick’s highest honours at a special event held to tie in with International Women’s Day.

ACCLAIMED city writer Kate O’Brien has been given one of Limerick’s highest honours at a special event held to tie in with International Women’s Day.

Prolific author Ms O’Brien, who was born in the city, has been given a posthumous civic reception by Limerick City and County Council.

Two other outstanding ‘Women of Distinction’, the aviation pioneer Sophie Mary Peirce and social reformer Charlotte Grace O’Brien from West Limerick were also given the same honour at a special event in the University Concert Hall.

Council arts officer Sheila Deegan told an audience including Sabina Higgins, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and former British politician Edwina Currie, of the long and varied life the author had lived.

Although born in Limerick in 1897, Ms O’Brien’s career saw stints in Manchester, Oxford, London and Spain’s Basque country.

“Kate O’Brien’s literary career commenced in 1926 as a result of a bet with a friend that she could write a play within a number of weeks. The play ‘Distinguished Villa’ was the result of the wager and was performed in May that year, and was met with wide acclaim,” Sheila said.

It was on the advice of her agent that she then turned her hand to writing novels, including two which were banned in Ireland by the censorship board.

John O’Brien, a nephew of Ms O’Brien, picked up a scroll to mark the occasion, and said afterwards: “It was very emotional. My brother and I continue to be her literary executors. It’s brilliant to have this here today.”

Relatives of the other women also received scrolls at the ceremony, which was hosted by RTE broadcaster Claire Byrne.

For more pictures, and reaction, see the Limerick Leader weekend editions.