Engagement & Endurance: Cork City Women in the 1920s


Cork City Council are proud to make public the screening of a very special documentary called “Endurance & Engagement: Cork City Women in the 1920’s” as part of the decade of commemorations for International Women’s Day 2022.

During 2021 Cork City Council commissioned a short documentary on ordinary women from Cork City.

Cork, from 1919 to 1920 was the most violent and volatile county in Ireland, at the epicentre was the city itself. All aspects of life in Cork City were deeply impacted by these turbulent times.


The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Colm Kelleher stated:– “Women played an extremely important role during the turbulent years of the 1920s in Ireland and particularly in Cork City. Engagement and Endurance: Cork City Women in the 1920’s explores themes of loss, political engagement, social justice, conflicting loyalties and uncovers many of the challenging conditions endured by women in those dramatic times.  I wish to acknowledge the support of the Department of TourismCulture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and congratulate everyone involved in its production.”


Deputy Lord Mayor and The Chair of Cork City Council’s Women’s Caucus, Cllr. Mary Rose Desmond stated:

It is very fitting that “ Engagement & Endurance: Cork City Women in the 1920’s” will be aired on International Women's Day this year.  I had the privilege, as Deputy Lord Mayor, of attending at its premiere as part of Cork Film Festival last November. It is a wonderful watch and gives a brief insight into the key role these women played in society and the tenacity and strength of women in that era.  The Cork City Council's Women's Caucus are delight to have this work included as part of the City's events to mark International Women's Day, particularly as the role women in Ireland played in the 1920's has far too often been overlooked.  This commission of work by Cork City Council is a richly deserved recognition of these women which I believe will also serve to inspire women of today."  


The research team on the project were Anne Twomey of Shandon History Group, Dr Helene O’Keeffe of UCC School of History & Gerry White.

The documentary director Ciara Buckley of Wombat Media said:

As a proud Cork woman, I was so happy to collaborate with Cork City Council to produce and direct ‘Engagement and Endurance’, these incredible unsung heroines are so inspiring and it’s great to share their stories and help give them the recognition they truly deserve.’

Anne Twomey stated “Eilish MacCurtain, The Duggan Sisters, Geraldine Neeson and Dr. Mary Hearn represent women of the time who were among the forgotten and unsung heroines of Irish history and their stories that deserve to be told”.


Mná100 is an initiative of the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme to document women in our history, particularly their contribution during the Irish Revolutionary period, 1912-1923.  

As the focus of the Commemoration period moves to Cork, the video above provides a snapshot of the work already curated by MNÁ100  exploring the contribution of women to the Irish Revolution through film, podcast and music.