The Irishwoman who was the world’s first female stockbroker

Dubliner Oonah Keogh overcame number of barriers that her male contemporaries never had to deal with

Oonah Keogh. Photograph: Women’s Museum of Ireland

Oonah Keogh. Photograph: Women’s Museum of Ireland

At the confluence of the Adour and the Nive rivers lies the ancient city of Bayonne. A mere 9km from the luxurious seaside resort of Biarritz, it is a region that has long attracted the well-to-do of Europe to its grand hotels, casinos and exclusive beaches. Just under a hundred years ago it was home to a young Irish women who had come to France to gain fluency in the language. Using the city as a base she spent over two years travelling across Europe and North Africa, journeying from the Moroccan Maghreb to the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.

Her name was Oonah Mary Irene Keogh, the daughter of one of Ireland’s most successful stockbrokers. Her absence from Ireland during this period was fortuitously timed, as civil war raged in the newly independent Irish Free State and its future remained somewhat uncertain.

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