NUIG will host an exhibition on the Path Breaking Women of NUI Galway as part of a multidisciplinary project by researchers of the College.

This exhibition features 12 women from diverse social, political and religious backgrounds, and their extraordinary – yet little known – contributions across the arts, sciences and public life.

Each one is a former faculty member or student who made a remarkable contribution to the university or wider society in the years before and after 1916, or subsequently in the first decades of Irish independence. The Path Breaking Women exhibition foregrounds in particular the campaigns for social reform that animated Ireland in the early 20th century, including struggles for suffrage and women’s access to education and professional employment, as well as later efforts for progressive social change and women’s rights in modernising Ireland.

The exhibition will also celebrate Dr Ada English who was a pioneering Irish psychiatrist who was deeply involved in Irish politics and medicine during the first half of the 20th century. Throughout her remarkable, busy life English divided her energies between acting as a dedicated asylum-doctor and her devotion to the struggle for Irish freedom, even spending several months in jail for possessing nationalist literature. English spent almost four decades (1904-1942) dedicated to the reform of Ireland’s large custodial psychiatric institutions in Ballinasloe District Asylum.

The featured women are:

Ada English (1875-1944)

Alice Perry (1885-1969)

Mary Donovan O’Sullivan (1887-1966)

Emily Anderson (1891-1962)

Síle Ní Chinnéide (1901-1980)

Máirin de Valéra (1912-1984)

Margaret Heavey (1908-1980)

Celia Lynch (nee Quinn) (1908-1989)

Lorna Reynolds (1911-2003)

Maureen O’Carroll (nee McHugh) (1913-1984)

Nora Niland (1913-1988)

Caitlín Maude (1941-1982)

Exhibition Details



Dates: From March 2017

Location:Hardiman Building foyer

Curator:Professor Niamh Reilly (Principal Investigator), School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway

Researchers:Mary Clancy, Centre for Global Women’s Studies, and Dr Muireann O’Cinneide, English, NUI Galway

Funder: Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme 2016; School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway; Moore Institute, NUI Galway

Partners:Centre for Global Women’s Studies; Gender ARC; University Women’s Network


For more information please visit the NUIG website.