Monday, January 15, 2007

Great Irish Women part 1 and a bit - Nellie Cashman

I MEANT to post this before now about receiving a very cool email last month regarding my Great Irish Women - Nellie Cashman post, and wow.

Greetings from Alaska! I was doing some research on Nellie Cashman and landed on your blog site. I thought I'd just send a quick email.
My name is Peg and my husband and I live just outside of Fairbanks. We have a kennel of 33 sled dogs and 8 sled puppies we're looking after for the winter. This spring I'll be retracing Nellie's 350 mile supply journey from Fairbanks to Nolan Creek (in the Koyukuk region). It will be a historical journey and we'll be using traditional sleds, equipment and clothing.
I stumbled on a book about Nellie at the library and became fascinated with her story. She was an extremely tough woman. Your blog told about her exploits in the lower 48 and the Klondike but her greatest journeys and achievements were when she lived in the Koyukuk area. This region is so forbidding that Alaska's indigenous people didn't live there. It doesn't support healthy animal or fish populations. It's very tough country.
For a woman in her 60s and 70s to live and travel through this region is remarkable. She became known as the only white woman to journey in some of the toughest regions of this state.
This year I'll be doing the 350 mile journey and next year will be re-enacting the 750 mile trip from Nolan to Anchorage. Should be lots of fun! (Now there's an understatement!)
Well I must run. Dogs are looking for food and the puppies need their walk.

I then emailed Peg back explaining why I was doing this series and why Nellie was an inspiration to me before asking her permission to post her comments here and she replied saying:

Feel free to post my comments on your site. It's so true that women are overlooked in history....probably because they were all so damn busy taking care of families, homes and work that there wasn't much time left over for writing...LOL.
I think that's one of the big motivators for me on these expeditions. Lord knows I have my faults but I strive to be a role model for women younger than me and to highlight the accomplishments of others who have gone before me. Women have so much untapped greatness within them. I'm hoping too that there might be some teachers in Ireland who would be interested in working this expedition into their curriculum.
And even better Peg said she would, when she can, post updates on her expedition which I have to say I will be very excited to receive. Peg already sent me a pic which made me go BBbrrrrr. So is there any teacher out there who would be interested in following this fantastic journey considering an elderly Irish women has been the trail blazer? You'll never ever get such an opportunity to follow such an amazing expedition. Let me know and I will be happy to pass on your details.

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Sinéad said...

Finally, I found that book after some rummaging. It's called Ten Dublin Women. It features essays by Margaret MacCurtain and Medb Ruane and the 10 women featured are Sara Allgood, Maggie Barrett, Louie Bennett, Kathleen Clarke, Rosie Hackett, Mary Hayden, Mary Lear, Kathleen Lynn, Mary McCarthy and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington.

If you want a loan of it, let me know and we'll figure something out.

Great series!

Red Mum said...

Thanks Sinead the suggestions are much appreciated. Some of the commentators to the series have thrown up some great suggestions. Which is fantastic because it isn't going to be a short series, there are far too many unrecognised great Irish women :)

I will be back to you about the book. Maybe I can get the book from you at the blog awards :)

Kirstie said...

I am V fond of your posts on Irish women. Love a bit of the auld feminism, me. I too have a buke called a social history of women in ireland, 1870-1970 which is pretty interesting. it's a shame more isn't written here about social history in an accessible way - I can, and do devour any number of antonia fraser and stella tillyard books, but it would be nice to read more about our own country.