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It goes without saying that life for women in 19th century Ireland was at least a little different to how life is for women in Ireland these days. While this isn’t the place for a debate on equality, time has moved on from the days when women weren’t allowed to vote or play fast and loose with ankle exposure.
To see just how much things have changed, explore Findmypast’s newspaper archive and you’ll find this helpful and informative article (published in the Tipperary Vindicator in May, 1846) entitled "Advice to Young Ladies. By [REDACTED] an ardent friend of the fair sex." Yes, this is an article written by a man giving women a steer on how they should behave.
Let’s just dive straight in, shall we?
Ok, this seems fair enough. Who doesn’t like being abroad in the open air? Except this is followed by a stern warning that states “though good health be one of the greatest blessings of life, never make a boast of it, but enjoy it in grateful silence. We so naturally associate the idea of female softness and delicacy with a correspondent delicacy of constitution, that when a girl speaks of her great strength, her extraordinary appetite, her ability to bear excessive fatigue, we recoil at the description in a way she is but little aware of.” These are pretty mixed messages, [REDACTED].
Maybe a slightly outdated viewpoint, but ok.
This is probably not bad advice in general, but we don’t like your tone, [REDACTED].
Yeah women, stop being so silly and vain, lest you open yourself up to ridicule.
[REDACTED] has some views on marriage, of course. Firstly, he starts out by telling any female readers not to marry a fool, then goes on to make the fool sound like a lot of fun.
Still not seeing any reason to avoid the fool, he sounds like a barrel of laughs.
But [REDACTED], what if a woman wants to get married?
Phew! Thanks, [REDACTED].
To browse the newspapers yourself and see what life was like for Irish people as long ago as 1719, visit our archive today.
For more stories on tracing your Irish heritage from Findmypast click here.
*Originally published in August 2015.