During the Spring semester of my Junior year, I was amongst a group of Agnes Scott students who studied Irish literature and film. After the end of the semester, from May thirteenth to May twenty-ninth, we traveled around both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (with Dave Yeats as our more than capable and amazing guide).
Throughout the course, we read both—male and female, classic and contemporary Irish authors; however, I was always drawn to the portrayal of women and their roles within the narrative and respective time period as we read. No matter the author or the other themes, I was always drawn to the women. In Ireland, during my travels, I was similarly drawn to investigating, interacting with, and looking at all things female.
In addition to being in Ireland when history was made (during the vote for eighth amendment repeal) in regard to women’s rights, I was also able to learn about and walk in the footsteps of some phenomenal women. In Kilkenny, I got to go to the Lady’s Castle (or Kilkenny Castle) where the women were the ones who really fought for and kept up the castle. Later, in Lisadell House, I got to see a photograph commemorating, Elizabeth Carty, the youngest cook in the house. To me, the castle and the photograph, hung up right near the kitchen, were honoring and remembering these women. They were tributes, of a sort, and after seeing those, I really wanted to take a closer look at other ways in which Irish women were commemorated, honored, and/or remembered.
Read more to learn about the bean na h-eirann and the ways in which they are memorialized.