The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Read more about the RIA
€ 25.00

Book Details

Published by Royal Irish Academy

August 2022


Number of pages: 244

ISBN: 9781911479833


PDF icon ai_sisters.pdf


Nine writers trace the public and private lives of nine sets of sisters. Artists, publishers, writers, educationalists, philanthropists, revolutionaries, suffragists — thinkers all. Independent women with hopes and ideals who overcame barriers, even within their own families, to their participation in public life. Their stories have often been overlooked by the mainstream historical record. These essays take readers on a journey through the centuries from the 1600s to the turbulent years of the independence struggle in 1900s Ireland and uncover the influence, support and rivalries of family.

The nine sets of sisters featured in the book are the following:
Nualaidh, Máire and Mairghréad Ó Domhnaill 
Alice, Sara, Lettice, Joan, Katherine, Dorothy and Mary Boyle (Attend Lunchtime lecture 17th Aug 2022) Read an extract here
Katherine, Jane and Mary Conyngham (Listen back to lecture)
Deborah, Margaret, Mary and Sarah Shackleton (Listen back to lecture)
Lady Sydney Morgan and Lady Olivia Clarke (Attend Lunchtime lecture 10th Nov 2022)
Anna and Fanny Parnell (Attend Lunchtime lecture 19th Oct 2022)
Constance and Eva Gore-Booth (Listen back to lecture)
Susan and Elizabeth Yeats (Listen back to lecture)
Hanna, Margaret, Mary and Kathleen Sheehy (Listen back to lecture)



About the authors

Siobhán Fitzpatrick

Siobhán Fitzpatrick held the position of Librarian to the Academy until April 2020. She has co-edited several monographs on antiquarian and bibliographical themes and has written on science publication in Ireland and on aspects of the Academy's manuscript and print collections. 

Siobhán has served as President of the Library Association of Ireland and as Hon. General Secretary of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. She is a past chair of CONUL (the Consortium of National & University Libraries).

Mary O'Dowd

Mary O'Dowd is Emeritus Professor in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics History at Queen's University Belfast. Her research interests focus on gender and social history in early modern Ireland. She was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2010 and is currently the Secretary for Polite Literature and Antiquities/Humanities in the Academy.