On the International Day of Peace, Herstory launched Peace Heroines, a new education programme about the pivotal role of women in the Northern Ireland peace process, and now the exhibition has arrived at the County Museum, Dundalk and will be open to the public up to December 23.
The exhibition captures a diversity of voices and perspectives as well as featuring nine stunning portraits by the artist FRIZ (who also painted the murals of St. Brigid and Leopold McClintock) of Monica McWilliams, Pearl Sagar, Linda Ervine MBE, Pat Hume, Baroness May Blood MBE, Saidie Patterson, Susan McCrory, Bronagh Hinds, Ellen Weir and Anne Carr, featuring 30 women’s stories. The exhibition also examines partnerships such as Peace People, NI Women’s Coalition, Women Together, Derry Peace Women and the special dynamic between Shankill and Falls Women’s Centres through the leadership of Eileen Weir and Susan McCrory.
Women from all walks of life played a pivotal role in the Northern Ireland peace process and continue cross-community dialogue and reconciliation projects today. Ordinary women with extraordinary courage, they faced daily threats to their lives and the lives of their families.
Many overcame struggles with poverty, poor education, and personal tragedy to work together for peace. They did everything from supporting victims of sectarian violence to lobbying politicians, founding integrated education, starting cross-community projects, organising mass peace marches, and inspiring women to participate in political and public life.
According to Museum Curator, Brian Walsh, “this is the most interesting aspect to the exhibition; here are is an inspirational set of women, a group who is familiar. They are our mothers, our wives, girlfriends, sisters and daughters. They are of their communities, and sought to achieve peace in such difficult times. They are a constant reminder of what is possible, a reminder of the importance of establishing links and communications particularly when times are difficult. It is this determination that sets them apart. It is for this reason that the Museum is delighted and honoured to host this exhibition; as society looks to inspire our next generation of leaders, we need to be aware of those who have gone before us, and this exhibition does that.”
The exhibition was launched by the Chief Executive of Louth County Council Mrs Joan Martin in the presence of the Cathaoirleach Cllr Conor Keelan and members of Louth County Council. The Chief Executive commented on the reflective value that the exhibition offers particularly at this time of year when we may reflect on our past. It is only with the passing of time and with such reflection that we can comprehend the magnitude of what these women undertook and achieved.
Admission to the exhibition is free. More information may be had by contacting the Museum at 042 9392999. The exhibition will move to Derry’s Tower Museum in early January before going to the Belfast’s Corners Festival and then the UN in New York in late March.