LIMERICK is to mark International Women’s Day with a number of events, chiefly a civic reception to honour three of the county’s most influential ladies.
Limerick City and County Council will on Friday posthumously honour Atlantic shipping reformer Charlotte Grace O’Brien, aviator Lady Sophie Mary Peirce and city writer Kate O’Brien at the University of Limerick. The event is being organised in association with UL. Getting under way at 1pm this Friday, the event will also see the launch of the SWAN charter, which recognises the role women play in sciences.
Also on the Friday, Raheen firm JJ O’Toole will host a luncheon at the Dunraven Arms Hotel in Adare, in aid of the Hope Foundation which helps Calcutta’s street children.
There, they will be joined by Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons and former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton, with the event kicking off at midday. On Monday, there will be an International Women’s Day luncheon in aid of the Symptomatic Breast Cancer Services Unit, University Hospital, Limerick at the Greenhills Hotel in the Ennis Road from 12.30pm.
Guest speakers at the luncheon include local women Josephine Feehily, chairperson of the new Independent Policing Authority and Catherine Duffy, general manager of Northern Trust and widely expected to be the new president of the Limerick Chamber.
There will also be a special event at the Southill Area Centre this Monday from 10am, which will feature an interactive drama piece, and a variety of dancing.
Also on Monday, Limerick’s most senior female politician, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan will speak at a coffee morning in the Hunt Museum, with all proceeds going to Thomond House, a refuge for abused women in the region. The coffee morning kicks off at 10.30am.
Of the three women being honoured, Charlotte Grace O’Brien helped to reform Atlantic shipping in the late 1880s with a particular reference to women travelling alone. She forced liners to provide separate quarters where they were free of assault and harassment.
Sophie Mary Peirce, later known as Lady Sophie Mary Heath was the first pilot to fly solo in an open cockpit. She was the first female to attain a commercial pilot’s licence, and do a parachute jump.
On top of this, Lady Heath pioneered women’s athletics in Britain, winning two Olympic medals, and was part of the movement to introduce women’s track and field to the games.
And Kate O’Brien is one of the most celebrated writers in Limerick’s literary history.
Metropolitan district mayor, Cllr Michael Sheahan, who has spearheaded this civic reception, hopes the event sparks off an yearly civic reception for Limerick’s celebrated ladies.
He said Friday’s civic reception will be the highlight of his mayoralty.
See also Tom Aherne’s Then & Now column on page 19