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MIC FemFest 2024

About FemFest

A festival highlighting the experiences and achievements of women.

MIC FemFest is a biannual festival run by a committee comprising members of academic, professional services and student communities. The festival consists of a schedule of events celebrating the social, cultural and economic achievements of women. It also seeks to highlight the many challenges still experienced by women, with a view to stimulating dialogue around the ways in which these challenges might be addressed.

The diverse and vibrant programme of events for 2024, which ran over three days from 5-7 March across the MIC Limerick and Thurles campuses.

Programme of Events - MIC Limerick

Opening Event

Justine McCarthy - A Lot Done, More To Do

MIC FemFest 2024 is opened by Justine McCarthy, a weekly columnist with The Irish Times. Justine has won more than a dozen awards for her journalism, is a frequent broadcaster and the author of three books; Mary McAleese: The Outsider, Deep Deception: Ireland's Swimming Scandals, and An Eye on Ireland. Welcome by Fiona McDonagh, Chair of MIC FemFest and introduction by Dr Angela Canny, MIC, followed by a choral reading of the FemFest Manifesto by the FemFest Committee.

Venue: G10, Time: 1pm - 2pm

Justine McCarthy, Journalist
Justine McCarthy, Journalist

Afternoon Event

Feminist Song - Bread and Roses: A Socio-Musical Case Study of Feminist Resistance

Dr Gwen Moore, MIC, invites the audience to consider the power of music as a vehicle for social protest across cultural, social and political divides, past and present. Dr Moore argues that the power of protest song extends beyond the lyrics and the score and beyond the production and reception of the song as artefact. She claims rather that it is in collective singing that a strong unity of purpose is fostered.

Feminist Anthems!

Jude Mc Inerney and Michelle Ryan, MIC. This project explores individual interpretations of the Feminist Anthem. It consists of an audio piece in the style of a mixed-tape podcast compiled from submissions of favourite Feminist Anthems from MIC staff and students, and the wider Limerick community. Jude and Michelle analyse this compilation in terms of the genre, era, and content of the anthems represented. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favourite band t-shirt, badge or anything that gives a nod to the era or performer of their favourite Feminist Anthem. The audio piece will also be broadcast on Wired FM Student Radio and made available online.

Introductions by Dr Susan Liddy, MIC.

Venue: G10, Time: 2.30pm - 3.30pm

Evening Event

Stretch on your Grave: A Tribute to Sinéad O'Connor

This event is a celebration of Sinéad O'Connor's life and music through readings and song. Come along to hear Deirdre Clare and Dr David Clare, MIC, perform Nothing Compares 2 U, Stretched on your Grave, Black Boys on Mopeds and other hits. There will also be readings from various Limerick-based performers.

Venue: Meditation Space, Foundation Building, Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm

Celebrating Sinéad O'Connor's life & music
Celebrating Sinéad O'Connor's life & music

Morning Event

Student Performances

Us, The Beneath is a devised performance presented by 2nd year BA students Matthew O' Rourke, Megan Warde, and Gránia Curran. The performance is an ode to forests, bodies, womanhood and growth. Based on a poem by Matthew O'Rourke, it explores what community means, what it can do, and how it is undermined by patriarchal structures and behaviours.
Mary I Dramatic Arts Society (MIDAS) invites you to enjoy a performed reading of selected feminist plays from 1970s and 1980s Italy. These highly controversial and impactful stories were written by groundbreaking feminist playwrights. And in this performed reading, the distinctly comedic resonance of their work in contemporary Irish contexts will be revealed.

Venue: An Halla, Time: 11am - 12pm

Lunchtime Event

Song Seeking

This event shares songs and insights from some of the Ukrainian women who take part in the Song Seeking project. This is a Sing Ireland initiative that preserves participants' connection to their homeland whilst fostering new relationships through cultural exchange.

Introduction by Dr Ailbhe Kenny, MIC.

Venue: G10, Time: 1pm - 2pm

Song Seeking
Song Seeking
A Sing Ireland initiative.

Afternoon Event

Talk by Prof. Pat O'Connor

Prof. Pat O'Connor, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy, UL and Visiting Full Professor, Geary Institute, UCD, reads from her recently published memoir: A 'proper' woman? One woman's story of success and failure in academia. Her 120 publications include nine books and over 80 peer reviewed articles. Pat was the first woman full professor of sociology in Ireland (1997), the first woman full professor in any discipline in UL, and the first woman Faculty Dean in UL.

Introduction by Dr Dorothy Morrissey, MIC.

Venue: G10, Time: 3pm - 4pm

Pat O'Connor
Pat O'Connor

Evening Event

The Celestial Realm: Discussing Memoir, Madness, and Maternal Lineage

Molly Hennigan is an Irish writer and editor living in Galway. As a child, she visited her grandmother in various psychiatric hospitals. Tracing the organic path of her grandmother's experience to her great-grandmother's time in Irish mental hospitals, Molly explores her own family trauma and what it means to be an unconventional woman in a society that values conformity. Molly will read from her first book,The Celestial Realm, which was nominated for the An Post Irish Book Awards Newcomer of the Year, followed by an interview with Dr Deirdre Flynn, MIC.

Venue: G10, Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm

Lunchtime Event

Caoineadh/ Keening

Keening, from the Irish Caoineadh, was a traditional vocal artform, performed in mourning for the dead. The woman entrusted with performing the Keening, bean chaointe/ mná caointe, played an integral role in paying tribute to the deceased and articulating the grief felt by the mourning community. This event will shine a light on the traditional role of keening in rituals around death in Ireland, with a talk from the bilingual writer and UCD professor emerita Angela Bourke who has conducted and published extensive research on this practice, the women who performed keening, and the poetry they crafted.
This will be followed by a talk and performance by vocal and visual artist, Ceara Conway, who will discuss her 'Making Visible' project. Commissioned by CREATE (2014), Ceara created a series of contemporary vocal performances informed by her time engaging with 'Able Women', a group of women seeking asylum in Ireland.

Introduced by Dr Vicky Brady, MIC.

Venue: G10, Time: 12.30pm - 2pm

Afternoon Event

Behind the Scenes - Literary Women and the Complexities of Publishing

In association with the Irish Women's Writing Network (1880 - 1920)

Women are central to the publishing industry, frequently serving in behind-the-scenes roles as editors, reviewers, copywriters, designers, marketers, project managers, and public relations professionals. This roundtable session introduces Lucy Hogan (Royal Irish Academy and Publishing Ireland) who will discuss her experiences in the business. She is joined by members of the Network, Deirdre Brady, Sinéad Mooney, Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin and Kathryn Laing, who will offer snapshots of the legacy of Irish women writers and publishers, opening up broader conversations about women in publishing, women and publishing as an industry, and the intersections between the arts and business. The session concludes with a short launch by Professor Bill Leahy, Dean of Arts, of recent MIC and Network publications relating to women’s lives and writing.

Chaired by Dr Kathryn Laing, MIC.

Venue: G10, Time: 2.30pm - 4pm

Evening Event

Sara Baume in conversation with Eimear Ryan

In this event, author Sara Baume will talk about her work in conversation with author Eimear Ryan. Sara is the author of three novels; Spill Simmer Falter Wither, A Line Made by Walking and Seven Steeples. In 2023 Sara was named one of Granta magazine's Best Young British Novelists.
Eimear Ryan is the author of a novel, Holding Her Breath (2021), and a memoir, The Grass Ceiling (2023), both published by Penguin, Sandycove. She is cofounder of the literary journal Banshee and its publishing imprint, Banshee Press.

Venue: T117, Time: 5.30pm - 7pm

Sara Baume and Eimear Ryan
Sara Baume and Eimear Ryan

Programme of Events - MIC Thurles

Opening Event

Talk by Siobhan McQuillan, a registered art therapist, and founder of Arts Reach Ireland and of Amber Women's Refuge's One Million Stars project. This project is a community arts project aimed at connecting communities across Ireland in solidarity against domestic abuse and all forms of violence.

Opening of FemFest at MIC Thurles by Dr Deirdre Brady.

Time: 11am - 1pm

Venue: Room G16

Star Weaving Workshops

Day one of a series of Star Weaving Workshops, led by students, staff and community volunteers, facilitated by Dr Joan Finlay, MIC. 

One hour daily sessions will take place Tuesday 5 - Friday 8 March.

Venue: 'Ref' canteen

Rest as Resistance

Reclaiming the Right to Rest

Dr Rebecca Purcell, MIC, explores the ‘Rest’ movement, examining 'Rest' as resistance against systems of oppression through the practice of Yoga Nidra.

Time: 1pm - 2pm

Venue: The Chapel

Unheard Voices

This panel reclaims space for those in Irish society whose voices have remained hidden, forgotten or ignored. With papers ranging from topics including the role of the Irish government in influencing women's role in society in the 1950s, women in design and publishing in the 70s and 80s, current gender pay trends, marginalised groups in education, and transsexual issues, this discussion prompts us to consider how we can learn from the past to think about Irish society today and in the future.

Chair: Dr Maria D. Ryan

Time: 10am - 11.30am

Venue: Room 15

Tea & Conversation
Forging and sharing ideas - with colleagues from MIC Limerick.
Facilitator: Dr Marian Carcary
Location: Staff Tearoom, Time: 11.30am - 12.30pm
Closing of FemFest at MIC Thurles
Closing address by Dr Finn Ó Murchú, Head of School.
Time: 2.30pm
Guided College Tour
With special focus on the role of women within the College.
Led by Ruth Talbot, MIC.
Time: 3pm

Other FemFest Events


This exhibition of Mrs Alice Craven papers, spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, will recognise long forgotten widows and recover their lost voices.
Mrs Alice Craven, a wealthy Protestant widow, bequeathed in her will of 1729 monies to support the setting up of Limerick’s Craven Charity. This charity was committed to the care of the Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick who established a trust in her name – the Alice Craven Trust, which still survives today.
It was the first of several similar private female-funded trusts to emerge in eighteenth-century and nineteenth century Limerick, including Mrs Hannah Villiers’ charity (1821) and Mrs Hall’s Almshouses (ca.1848). The surviving Craven papers span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and include a list of all the widows over nearly 300 years. We also a have copy Alice’s will (1729).

Exhibition curated by Dr Paul O'Brien, Dr Helene Bradley Davies, Dr Ursula Callaghan and Killian Webster, MIC.

Location: The Foyer, Foundation Building, MIC Limerick

Mrs Alice Craven papers exhibition
Mrs Alice Craven papers exhibition

Poetry Event

Esteemed poet Patricia-Anne Moore performs at the First Wednesday Series at the White House Bar on 6 March at 7.30pm, followed by an Open Mic.

Presented by Limerick Writers' Centre and Lime Square Poets. Hosted by D'or Seifer and Dr Lauren McNamara, MIC.

Venue: The White House Bar, 52 O'Connell St., Limerick

MIC Library

MIC Library will host an exhibition over the course of FemFest on topics related to the festival.

  • About FemFest
  • Programme of Events - MIC Limerick
  • Programme of Events - MIC Thurles
  • Other FemFest Events