#WCW Series – Nell McCafferty

6 Comments on #WCW Series – Nell McCafferty

Welcome to Mrs S. LDN 10th Woman’s Crush Wednesday!!!

Previous #WCW Can be found below:

Dorothy Parker

Dolly Parton

Sarah Jessica Parker

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” – Unknown

Nell McCafferty


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D.O.B: March 28th 1944

Age: 73

Journalist, Writer, Playwright, Civil Rights Campaigner & Feminist

Bio in more depth: Good ole Reliable Wiki….

12 Fun Facts about Nell McCafferty

  1. Nell is a Journalist, Writer, Playwright, Civil Rights Campaigner & Feminist
  2. McCafferty was born in the Bogside area of Derry and grew up in The Troubles
  3. She was one of the founding members of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement
  4. One of Nell’s most famous works is on the Kerry Babies Case, which was made into a book –  “A Woman to Blame
  5. Nell was in a relationship with Nuala O’Faolain for 15 years.
  6. McCafferty spent the late 60’s traveling in Turkey, Bulgaria, Damascus, Israel and London.
  7. She returned to Ireland where she witnessed and wrote about some of the most defining moments of Irish history.
  8. In May 1971, Nell was on the Contraceptive Train. Contraceptives were banned in the Republic at the time. They where legal in the North and a number of women went up on the train to purchase them. On their return to the South they stormed customs and aided in stripping away the ”taboo against discussing contraceptive practice.”
  9. Nell campaigned on behalf of republican women in jail.
  10. McCafferty is the best known Irish feminist writer.
  11. She was terrified to tell her mother she was gay. “Once the book was out there could be no ambiguity anymore.At the start, I was not sure if I could publish it while she was still alive. When I started the book, I decided to write everything down, and said to myself I could always take things out! But when it was done, – well, I felt this was the time, I had to be honest. So I took a deep breath and sent it off. I was terrified though, of how my mother and the neighbours, our street, would react. They have been through everything else – war, wife-beating, rape, marriage breakdown –this was the last taboo.”
  12. Colm Tóibín said about Nell: “Nell McCafferty’s achievement as a journalist has been inseparable from feminism. As a feminist she was written from the point of view of women who have very little stake in the world as it is. The women’s movement has set itself the task of creating a new perspective on almost everything in people’s lives, not just of achieving concessions from time to time. The new perspective is much easier to present in the relatively direct world of journalism that it is in the often stifling machinery of politics. She has applied that perspective to everything that has come her way. In doing that she has proved that there is always another way of looking at things.”

Nell McCafferty

11 of My Fave Quotes from Nell McCafferty

“We enjoyed the struggle, at least at the beginning. It was like shooting fish in a barrel, the obstacles to women were incredible, ludicrous, and stood out like a sore thumb. Ireland was full of men in suits who never had to deal with the likes of us before and to see them challenged by someone as formidable as Mary Robinson – it was great. It is terrific if you are a revolutionary, and you can achieve the revolution in a short time!”

“Once women sanction revolution, there’s no stopping it”.

“The experience of rioting was wonderful. I never felt better in my life.”

“30 years ago, contraceptives were still illegal in the Republic. Pints were another thing women could not have – and so the same women went in to a famous pub in Dublin’s city centre, ordered 40 brandies, waited for them to served, then ordered a pint. The barman refused, and they in turn never paid for the brandies.”

“At first it was so simple, the obstacles so obvious. Now you are dealing with all the complicated stuff – three jobs, childcare, commuting, three children by three fathers. I do not have the answer, and I am glad I don’t have to deal with it. My excuse is always: don’t ask the prophet for a blueprint! I prophesied that we must work outside the home, but I never said how it would be done exactly. I just sketched the big picture, someone else deal with the details. I have forgiven myself for not providing the blueprint: that is not my job – someone has to look at the big picture first! I keep asking, and I really want to know, how are you going to make it work? Who is out there looking for a solution? I am bemused there is no great cry from women, and men; but I guess it is just a fallow period at the moment. Change will come. I think it takes 20 – 30 years for each generational change to really seep through. And jobs for women outside the home have only really happened in Ireland in the last ten years. But I do wonder, are you all happier now!? “

“I see where we are having a papal visit in 2018 – I saw the first one back in 1979. And this one looks like it will happen in the in the middle of an abortion referendum – you couldn’t make it up – isn’t life exciting?”

“Some friends say they wouldn’t take me out because I might say something that would affect their parents . . . probably bad language”.

“What I thought was that even if I didn’t like the Provos, it was the British that brought this upon us, therefore everyone in Derry being in the IRA became the neighbour’s children. My attitude is that I don’t understand Lebanon – and I don’t expect people from a different country to understand the North,”

“I envy people now who have faith. In the lead up to my mam’s death, I can see how it is a comfort to people. And there is a lot of good sense in the Ten Commandments: give us today our daily bread – that phrase is people demanding their right; to be free from hunger; it is a civil rights demand. The holy men have just got in the way of the message of social justice. But I still have faith in the holy women”

“I am not worried about saying I love someone. To me it is one of life’s greatest achievements.”

“I like figuring out problems, there is an answer to everything.”

Another week and another crush! This one is very close to my heart. I grew up reading Nell’s words and aspiring to BE that kind of woman! I’m not sure many of you will know Nell but hopefully you will now.

Tune in every Wednesday for my Woman’s Crush!


6 thoughts on “#WCW Series – Nell McCafferty

  1. I am really loving this series and the fact that you are introducing me to women who I did not know. She has had an extraordinary career – well actually extraordinary life! I love her quote on love. It is definitely something to give your heart away. xx

    1. Ya so happy you loved Nell. I wasn’t sure how she would go down as she is not that well known outside of Ireland, i don’t think…. She sure does have a special place in my heart!! She was the writer who made me fall down the rabbit hole on Irish women and rights and all that kind of stuff! What an education that gave me 🙂

    1. Thank you, so glad you enjoyed Nell. Wasn’t sure if many people would know her as she’s Irish based and not your typical now a day kinda famous! So happy your liking the series, is there anyone you’d like to see on WCW specially? xxx

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