2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday March 17, 2022

Updated on Thursday March 17, 2022

portrait of Sinéad McCoole

Sinéad McCoole

Curator of Mná100 , Commemorations Unit, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media

Marking Irish women's history with website Mná100

As Europeana marks Women’s History month in March, we speak to different projects and cultural heritage institutions to find out more about how they are highlighting women's history. Today, we hear about Mná100, an online research platform which documents women in Irish history 100 years ago. 

A face overlaid with the words Mná100 Decade of Centenaries
Title:
Mná100 Centenary Podcasts art work
Creator:
Sorcha McMahon, Courtesy of Helen McMahon
Institution:
© Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Country:
Ireland

Mná100 is an online research platform, taking its name from the Irish word for women. It's part of Ireland's 'Decade of Centenaries' programme which remembers events which took place from 1912 to 1923, including World War I, the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish Struggle for Independence and Irish Civil War. The website was launched in May 2021 by Minister Catherine Martin T.D., to provide a platform for new material related to this seminal period of our history, while also looking at the past to examine contemporary issues as they relate to women and girls.

It follows on from the Pop-Up Women’s Museum ‘100 Years of Women in Politics and Public Life: 1918 to 2018’ which toured every province of Ireland and utilises the original resources sourced for this award winning project. Due to Covid-19, this resource moved online, ensuring the continuation of the women’s strand during this final stage of the Decade of Centenaries. You can view the virtual tour here.

A collage of faces from the Interactive Cabinet Table from 100 year of Women in Politics and Public Life
Title:
Interactive Cabinet Table from 100 year of Women in Politics and Public Life, 1918-2018 Exhibition.
Institution:
© Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Country:
Ireland
A collage of faces from the Interactive Cabinet Table from 100 year of Women in Politics and Public Life

Sharing Irish women’s history through different media

To date, Mna100 has commissioned illustrations, articles, podcasts and a film about Irish women's history.

Mná100 has brought online material from the award winning 100 Years of Women in Politics and Public Life exhibition through a 100 year timeline and a virtual tour. It has developed a new podcast series Mná100 Centenary Podcasts, and held numerous online webinars and seminars. The most recent online seminar, ‘What objects would you put in a Women’s Museum? Past, Present and Future’, was held in partnership with the International Association of Women’s Museums. 

Mná100 undertook original research and produced a short film called Toward America, which looked at women on both sides of the Atlantic who helped raise awareness and funds for the cause of Irish independence. Launched in 2021, in collaboration with New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House, it highlighted areas of new scholarship in archives and universities across the United States. It is our hope that, through Mná 100, we can reach out to the Irish Diaspora who hold information and material relating to this period in Irish history. It is important to tell the story of women and their seminal part in this Decade of Centenaries by continuing to make connections with archives, museums and libraries worldwide who may have Irish material. 

On the website, you will see the ‘100 Year Journey’ that Irish women have taken, documenting the actions of individuals and the collective actions of groups. During this passage of time, there has been a massive sea change - from the early 20th century when women did not have the vote, to now, when women work in important roles in politics, public life, and have leading roles in many Irish State institutions.

Working in partnership

All of this online content has been produced by the Mná100 team in the Commemorations Unit of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media in collaboration with key partners. The website highlights the work of Ireland's national cultural institutions and Historians-in-Residence. We have also worked with the Irish Local Authority Network of Arts Offices who have created community programmes as well as Arts Council’s Awardees and contemporary singer songwriters and balladeers. These partnerships span across the thematic strands of the Decade of Centenaries Programme, including the Historical and Creative Imagination Strands as well as the Community Strand, which is led by the local authority network.  

Engagement with stories online

We hope that Mná100.ie will bring the stories of these women to new audiences through the medium of film, podcast, articles, exhibitions, photo essays and webinars. The website will offer an online primary source to serve as another freely-accessible resource for people of all ages who have an interest in this complex period of commemoration. We have many future projects planned with academics, school children, International Associations, and contemporary women who shaped Irish history. 

During this Decade of Centenaries, a new version of this period in Modern Irish History is being written; one which is more complex, nuanced and inclusive, facilitated by the primary source material being made freely available online and private collections being made public. Mná100 showcases some of this work.

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