Nollaig na mBan

271443707_10160039736825086_2646014542181599144_nOn January 6th, the twelfth and final day of Christmas, traditional roles were supposed to be reversed in the home with men doing the women’s work, while women rested and gathered together informally as a reward for their hard work over the Christmas season.
To celebrate ‘Women’s Christmas’ Kenmare Heritage Tours reminded us of a remarkable lady, the ‘Nun of Kenmare’ Sr Francis Clare (Margaret Anna Cusack), who played a part in Kenmare’s history. She joined the Poor Clare Order at Newry, County Down and came with Abbess O’Hagan and her nuns to Kenmare to open a Poor Clare Convent in 1861.
As a writer, she founded Kenmare Publications which produced nearly 50 of her works on a broad range of subjects, such as history, religion and social commentaries. ‘Womans’ Work in Modern Society’ (1874) established Sr Francis Clare as a pioneer of Women’s Rights. Pictured are some her works, on display in the Heritage Centre. The proceeds of her publications came back to the Famine Relief Fund in Kenmare, which she founded in 1879.