From writers to activists, politicians to musicians, Irish women have proved formidable throughout the decades. Inspiring generations to come, here are the top ten empowering quotes by Irish women on International Women’s Day.
A focal point in the movement for women’s rights across the world, International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on 8 March.
Honouring the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women globally, International Women’s Day serves to inspire women to push for change that still needs to come.
So, on this day of international celebration, we are taking a look at some of the most inspiring women to come out of Ireland, from formidable Irish politicians such as Mary Robinson to acclaimed Hollywood icons like Maureen O’Hara.
Here are ten empowering quotes by Irish women on International Women’s Day to give you that well-needed confidence boost.
10. “To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else” – Bernadette Devlin, Irish civil rights leader
Bernadette Devlin is an Irish civil rights leader and former politician. She was the youngest woman ever to be elected to the British Parliament in 1969.
9. “What pisses me off is when I’ve got seven or eight record company fat pig men sitting there telling me what to wear” – Sinead O’Connor, singer
Sinead O’Connor is one of the most well-known Irish women all over the world. Recognised for her haunting vocals on hit songs such as Nothing Compares 2 U.
O’Connor has been known to not shy away from activism alongside her music career, facing tough issues such as organised religion, women’s rights, war, and child abuse.
8. “Above all else, deep in my soul, I’m a tough Irishwoman.” – Maureen O’Hara, actress
Maureen O’Hara was one of Ireland’s most iconic stars of the silver screen throughout Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Known for playing passionate but sensible heroines, O’Hara made her mark and was ranked number one on The Irish Times list of Ireland’s greatest film actors.
7. “I was elected by the women of Ireland, who, instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the vote.” – Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
Mary Robinson served as the President of Ireland between December 1990 and September 1997, making her the first woman to hold this office.
Among her many honours and awards, Robinson received Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award in 2004 for her human rights work, and she later received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Such an inspiring Irish woman, we had to make a place for her on our list of empowering quotes by Irish women on International Women’s Day.
6. “I think it’s important that we have strong female characters in movies now”– Saoirse Ronan, actress
As far as famous Irish women go, she is one of the greatest. Saoirse Ronan is a formidable force in Hollywood and has proved a great inspiration for young girls worldwide.
Starring in award-winning movies such as Lady Bird, Little Women, and Brooklyn, Ronan is recognised for playing strong female characters in her movies. The full quote reads:
“I think it’s important that we have strong female characters in movies now, which can really leave an impression on people, especially young people, and that they’re not ‘sexy’ or ‘cool’..”
5. “Take up your responsibilities and be prepared to go your own way depending for safety on your own courage, your own truth and your own common sense…” – Constance Markievicz, Irish politician and revolutionary
Renowned for giving up the privilege she was born with to live amongst and assist Ireland’s poor in their fight for freedom, Countess Markievicz is definitely one of the most inspiring Irish women of all time.
Her full quote reads,
“Don’t trust to your ‘feminine charm’ and your capacity for getting on the soft side of men.
Take up your responsibilities and be prepared to go your own way depending for safety on your own courage, your own truth and your own common sense, and not on the problematic chivalry of the men you may meet on the way…”
4.“Life offers up these moments of joy despite everything.” – Sally Rooney, author
At only 29 years of age, Sally Rooney has risen to prominence in recent years in the Irish literary scene as the author of Normal People and Conversations With Friends.
Her novels have been praised for their realistic approach to modern relationships and their expression of Irish culture and class divisions.
3. “All my experience of the world teaches me that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the safe and just side of a question is the generous and merciful side.” – Anna Jameson, Irish essayist
Anna Jameson was the first Anglo-Irish art historian.
She was a prominent contributor to nineteenth-century thought on a range of subjects, including early feminism, art history, travel, Shakespeare, poets, and German culture.
2. “She is a girl and would not be afraid to walk the whole world with herself.” – Lady Augusta Gregory, poet
Lady Augusta Gregory was an Irish dramatist, folklorist, and theatre manager.
She is well-known for co-founding the Irish Literary Theatre and the Abbey Theatre alongside William Butler Yeats and Edward Martyn, as well as writing numerous short works for both companies.
1. “And she did not know that she carried Armour” – Kate O’Brien, writer
Born in Limerick in 1897, Kate O’Brien was a well-known Irish novelist and playwright. She is remembered for her works, such as Without My Cloak, The Land of Spices and Mary Lavelle.
Her quote perfectly summarises the strength of women across countries and ages, and we felt it was perfect to top our list of empowering quotes by Irish women on International Women’s Day.