Carmel Gilbride to give a talk on Rural Dublin in Queen’s University

Women’s History Association of Ireland annual conference

Venue: Queens University Belfast,

Saturday 12th March,


Panel 6: Comparative contexts

  • Bernadette Whelan (University of Limerick), ‘Reading and the rural woman in Ireland, 1900-60’
  • Carmel Gilbride (Eneclann), ‘Urban rural comparatives: rural Dublin’
  • Mary McKee (Findmypast), ‘Combating invisibility and isolation: Cara-Friend’s work with queer women living in rural Ireland, 1974-1994’

The theme of this year’s conference, Irish Women and rural society, piqued my interest.

The history of rural Dublin provides us with a unique perspective on the role of women in 20th century rural Ireland. With a family history originating in North County Dublin, I wanted to explore the idea that the urban rural divide is overemphasized in Irish history.

Through the lens of family history, the paper will discuss women’s lives in a  north Dublin village, once compared to Oliver Goldsmith’s The Deserted Village. Growing up in this village provided me with a perspective that suggested that the urban /rural divide was perhaps a false dichotomy.

Informed by my work as a family historian with Eneclann, the paper will examine the deeply rural nature of women’s lives lived less than four miles from Nelson’s Pillar. The paper will attempt to show that its people, and especially its womenfolk, followed traditional country pursuits long in to the twentieth century. Given that this village has now been completely absorbed in to urban life, this is an attempt to ensure that the history of this part of rural Dublin, and its women, is not lost.

This paper will form part of the strand on the Conference’s urban rural comparatives on Saturday afternoon.  Also taking part in that strand is Mary McKee of findmypast.

By Carmel Gilbride

carmel gilbride

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