The voices of Catholic women in Ireland, 1800–1921
in Irish Catholic identities
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This chapter sets out to detect the voices of those Catholic women who managed to make themselves heard by a wider audience than family and friends in Ireland in the years between the Act of Union and independence/partition. It looks at women whose words and deeds had an impact in the so-called public sphere, organisational management, work which gave them authority over others campaigning, politics and writing. The most obvious Catholic women whose voices were heard between 1800 and 1921 were nuns, as religious sisters were commonly known. When it came to political and social reform movements, Protestant women's voices were the first ones raised. Ann Colman's groundbreaking research of the early 1990s shows definitively that Irish women, Catholic and Protestant, wrote and published vigorously, and were widely read, throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth century.

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