Donegal County Museum is hosting an insightful talk this week on ‘Irish Women on the Move:’ Examining the Histories of Migrants to Britain in the 20th Century


Dr Jennifer Redmond

The talk will be led by Dr Jennifer Redmond, who will offer insights into the story of the women who left Ireland after Independence. This is a unique chance to hear from Dr Redmond, whose research focuses on migration from Ireland and women’s social history.


When?  Saturday 23rd March at 2pm

Where? Donegal County Museum, High Road, Letterkenny

Even though more women than men have emigrated from Ireland, women’s migration to Britain has been less well studied. Irish women and Donegal women could be found in all walks of life in Britain.

Migrant workers, many from West Donegal, who travelled to parts of northern England and Scotland, often did general farm work or ‘tattie hoking’ – picking potatoes during the harvest months. Workers lived in bothies – small huts for agricultural labourers.

From 1945, thousands of Irish male and female migrants were involved in the reconstruction of post-War Britain. The Irish-born population in Britain almost doubled from 367,424 in 1931 to 726,121 in 1961. Women worked on farms, in factories, shops, hospitals, and in offices.

From the 1950s Irish female migrants’ job opportunities expanded and their social status began to improve. Many women were moving to Britain to work in the civil service, education, banks, social work and transport.

Dr Redmond will also discuss the public commentary about Irish women from the pulpit, press and politicians, who thought the women to be flighty, in need of guidance and prone to moral failures away from home. The repeated coverage of the ’emigrant girl’ in government memos and journals gave the impression Irish women were leaving for reasons other than employment.

Dr. Jennifer Redmond is a Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Irish History at the Department of History, Maynooth University where she also directs the MA in Irish History. Her publications include Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland (IAP, 2015) and Moving Histories: Irish Women’s Migration to Britain from Independence to Republic (Liverpool, 2018).  

All welcome, suitable for adults and young adults. Admission is free.

For information contact Donegal County Museum, High Road, Letterkenny 074 9124613