Logo for Our Irish Women

Our Irish Women project logo, final design by Damien Goodfellow National Museum of Ireland.

The symbolism of a circle

In the past, women that joined religious orders or the nursing professions traveled to ‘new worlds’ and participated in world wars.

The saying ‘the circle of life’ reminds us that women are child-bearers, giving life to each successive generation and bearing the joy, happiness, pain and suffering that are part and parcel of child-rearing.

  • A circle is all-encompassing like the arms of a mother or grandmother and represents the domestic roles of women that are key to family life.

The currency of women

The design of the logo is reminiscent of a coin:

  • Coins represent value. We ask the question: have we valued women and their contribution enough?
  • Coins represent wealth, reminding us that until relatively recently it was men that held wealth, property and hereditary rights. The Act of 1918, gave the vote only to those women over 30 that held property, or had husbands that did.
  • Coins represent wealth. The wealth of individual families and of the Irish State depended, and still depends on the wealth generated or enabled by the work of women.

The power of words

The words chosen for the logo illustrate the characteristics and concerns of women in the past, but that still ring true today.

Rather than directly translating Irish into English or vice versa, we decided to place the two languages side-by-side, mirroring the way in which people in Ireland live with their languages. We include both languages but use different words in each. By taking this approach, we were able to:

  • include more words
  • Encourage enquiry by non-Irish speakers. We hope that visitors to the exhibition may be intrigued enough to search the web for the Irish words to discover their meaning.
  • Include the word ‘powerful’ in both Irish and English, which will only be apparent to speakers of Irish. For those that notice this duplication we hope to encourage the question: ‘why’?
  • This ‘hidden’ replication of ‘powerful’ also references that the ‘power’ of women in Irish society has at times been hidden, repressed or suppressed, not unlike the history of the Irish language.

The Ireland motif

The logo’s central motif is the island of Ireland, with graphics depicting a woman’s face and head, and the fields, water (sea, rivers, and lakes) and mountains typical of the Irish landscape.

  • This represents the centrality of women to Irish life, society, history and culture, as well as acknowledging the challenges of life in the past, when many women lived, worked and raised families in a harsh, unforgiving environment, especially in the northern and western regions where paid employment, natural resources and access to ‘good’ land were limited.
  • The woman in the motif is looking to the west, reminding us of the many women and girls that left Ireland’s shore for a life in the new worlds of America and Canada.

We hope that you like the Our Irish Women logo and the visit the current exhibition, at the Museum of Country Life at Turlough Castlebar. The information on the Logo has been taken from the Museum’s website.



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