So who were the Offaly women leaders: the first woman bishop, a literary ‘salon’ hostess, a formidable woman whose home was her castle, a multi-talented photographer with dash and dosh, an artist and microscopist with a difficult husband, some teacher activists and a playwright. By Cosney Molloy


St Brigid of Croghan Hill, Offaly

Mary McAleese kicked off International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018  with a lecture outside the walls of the Vatican – no codology there.  She could have adverted to the first woman bishop in Ireland (no man handed her the veil), St Brigid. St Brigid was born at Croghan Hill, County Offaly and not near Dundalk or in Kildare. Her father was of the Fothairt people, mercenaries to the Uí Fhailge dynasty (Kissane, 2017, p. 105). Cogitosus says she was consecrated a virgin at Croghan Hill by Bishop MacCaille who is associated with that place. Will you be there on St Patrick’s Day for the burning of the furze?

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The O’Sullivans in Santiago de Compostela, by Elías Cueto

Galicia is known to many Irish people as Camino country. The Way of St James or Camino de Santiago begins for the Irish at St James’ Gate in Dublin, more usually known for the black stuff. For Irish peregriños, however, it will also conjure up memories of scallop shells, yellow arrows, meandering paths through the meseta, and the magnificent cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Now as the summer ends and many of us back from our travels, let’s take a look at some of the historic links between Galicia and Ireland with this guest post from Elías Cueto , an historian from Santiago whose research on the urban history of the city has been recently published.  Continue reading