Home | Contact NUI  


28 May 2024  

Herstory - NUI Archive


Illuminate Herstory Festival 5th – 8th January 2018

Illuminate Herstory is a light projection festival to celebrate women and equality.  Herstory plans to illuminate the country with images of women when the Christmas lights go out over the weekend of Nollaig na mBan (Women's Little Christmas) on the 5 - 8 January 2018 (www.herstory.ie). 

In light of Illuminate Herstory Festival 2018, NUI honours Professor Mary Hayden.

(L-R): Dr Maurice Manning, NUI Chancellor; Prof Patrick Clancy, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, UCD; Dr Aline Courtois, 2014 NUI Garret FitzGerald Fellow; Mr Martin McCormack , CEO, College of Anaesthetists; Dr Attracta Halpin, NUI Registrar

Mary Hayden

Mary Hayden graduated from the Royal University in 1885 with a BA in Modern Languages and an MA in 1887. She was the only woman member of the first Senate of the National University of Ireland and remained a senator until 1924. In 1911, she was appointed Professor of History at University College Dublin, a position she held for 27 years.

She was a prominent member of the Irish Women's Suffrage and Local Government Association and campaigned ardently for women’s rights. As a founding member of the Irish Association of Women Graduates and Candidate Graduates, she championed the inclusion and wider participation of women in higher education. She fought, along with Agnes O’Farrelly and others, for the appointment of women to university teaching positions, which ultimately influenced the provision in the Charter of the National University of Ireland, granted in 1908: ‘Women shall be eligible equally with men to be Members of the University or of any Authority of the University, and to hold any office or enjoy any of the advantages of the University.’ With the granting of this Charter, NUI became the first university in Ireland to guarantee women ‘the full academic and employment equality for which they had been campaigning for over forty years’ (Senia Pašeta, 2008, p. 30).

2018 marks the one hundredth anniversary of women’s suffrage. Later this year, NUI in collaboration with Professor Linda Connolly and Claire McGing of Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute (MUSSI) will host a symposium to commemorate the granting of the right to vote to women. Further details will be announced shortly.

The Houses of the Oireachtas, under the banner of Vótáil 100, are coordinating a series of events for this special year, details are available on their website.


Joyce Padbury, ‘Mary Hayden: historian and feminist’, History Ireland 15 (2007)

Seneta Pašeta, ‘Achieving equality: women and the foundation of the University’, in Tom Dunne (ed.), The National University of Ireland 1908-2008 Centenary Essays Dublin (UCD Press, 2008)