Northern Irish Women: Who Are They Historically, Currently, and in This Study?
For Irish women, the anonymity of womanhood has long been overshadowed by the otherness of Ireland, the difficulty of naming ourselves as women complicated by a national history of colonization, deprivation and strife. . . . We are marked ineradicably, in Eaven Boland's phrase, by "the power of nationhood to edit the realities of womanhood.". . . The hard fact for Irish women is that our voices have been overwhelmed as much by the needs of the nation as by the dictates of patriarchy. And there is nothing to be gained by denying this, whatever we might prefer to believe.
Ailbhe Smyth ( 1989)
Up there on the platform a man
speaks of the people: of what
we need, of who we really are, of how
we must fight to liberate ourselves.
* * * *
And somewhere there is vestige
of my mother nursing me to sleep,
when all my world was touch,
when all my world was peace.
* * * *
And in there too a September evening
the Pro-Cathedral, girls in rows at prayer