International Women’s Day: 12 things to do around Ireland to celebrate

Margaret Atwood in Galway; abseiling in Croke Park; rebels and revolutionaries at Epic

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, #EachforEqual, centres around “an equal world is an enabled world” and the idea that individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements; collectively, each of us can help create a gender equal world.

As this year’s women’s day falls on Sunday, March 8th, some #IWD events begin earlier in the week. There’s an ever growing range of International Women’s Day events, a mix of fundraisers, campaigning, celebratory, and just fun.

We’ve picked just a handful of events worth checking out. Far more are happening around the country. Below is far from a definitive or exhaustive guide - check locally to find nearby events and check details before travelling.

1. Wild Atlantic Women
Saturday and Sunday, March 7th and 8th, Galway city
Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture celebrates International Women's Day with a series of events this weekend. Derry Girl Siobhán McSweeney chats with "always a Derry Girl" Susan McKay (Saturday, 8pm; An Taibhdhearc). Ragadawn outdoor sunrise performance by poet and sound artist Caroline Bergvall is a multisensory composition for two live voices (Sunday, 7.40am; Salthill). The EU Prize for Literature winner Jan Carson talks about her novel The Fire Starter with Elaine Feeney (Sunday, 2.30pm; Galway 2020 office). Events culminate with the author and poet Margaret Atwood talking to McKay (Sunday, 8pm; Leisureland).


2. Getting to Equal, Closing the Gap, Accenture Breakfast
Thursday, March 5th, Convention Centre, Dublin 7.30 - 10.45am
Accenture hosts an International Women's Day breakfast event with a range of speakers and performances, including a keynote from former ambassador Anne Anderson, panel discussions on inclusive leadership, "getting to equal" and the thriving mind. Plus a live recording of The Irish Times Women's Podcast, hosted by Kathy Sheridan: People Like Us, will explore how speaking out and sharing challenging life experiences can have a positive impact, with participants Izzy Keane(Izzy Wheels), IDA CEO Martin Shanahan, writer and artist Sasha Terfous, and Senator and author Lynn Ruane. The podcast will be available on Sunday 8th on

3.Celebrate the Changemakers: NWCI's International Women's Week
Wednesday, March 4th, the Raddison Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8, 10.30-1pm, free, register on Eventbrite
The National Women's Council of Ireland follows its #FemGen general election campaign with an event looking at women's experiences on the campaign trail, ongoing barriers to women getting elected and priorities in relation to women's equality for the next Oireachtas and Government. Candidates and newly elected women TDs attending include Claire Kerrane, Sinn Féin; Jennifer Carroll Mac Neill, Fine Gael; Ivana Bacik, Labour Party; Bríd Smith, People Before Profit; Holly Cairns, Social Democrats; Catherine Martin, Green Party; and Deirdre Conroy, FiannaFáil. It will be chaired by broadcast journalist Katie Hannon. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook.

4. Plan Ireland: Abseiling in Croke Park
Saturday, March 7th, Croke Park Stadium, Cost: €50 registration fee plus €300 fundraising
Join 80 other women and men to walk across the roof of Croke Park stadium and abseil almost 46m (150ft) from the Hogan Stand to the hallowed ground below. Instructors provide equipment, training and support, so experience is not necessary. This fundraising event will support Plan International's Because I am a Girl campaign, a global initiative to transform power relations so girls everywhere learn, lead, decide and thrive, by identifying barriers to girls' empowerment including child marriage, forced labour, sexual violence, and early pregnancy.

5. Smashing Times: Constance and Her Friends 'At Home' in Dublin Castle
Sunday, March 8th, 1pm and 4pm, Booking €2.45 via Eventbrite
Smashing Times creates an 'At Home' with a difference, a literary salon of ideas and imagination, as Constance Markievicz and her friends are brought to life, using events that happened in and around the Dublin Castle complex, with storytelling, poetry and song in a take over of the State Apartments. The event is in partnership with the pop-up Women in Politics and Public Life exhibition (Dublin Castle's Coach House Gallery until May 4th), with Dublin City Council support.

6. Poetry Ireland lunchtime reading
Friday, March 6th, Poetry Ireland at 11 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, 1-3pm, Free, donations to Women's Aid encouraged
Lunchtime poetry reading for Women's Aid, with poets Aifric MacAodha, Catherine Ann Cullen, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Grace Wilentz, Jessica Traynor, Rachael Hegarty, Rosaleen McDonagh, Enda Wyley, Siobhán Daffy and singer Niamh Parsons.

7. Creative Leadership at TU Dublin
Wednesday, March 4th, 10am to 12.15pm followed by light lunch, The Richmond Education and Event Centre, 1 Brunswick Street North, Dublin 7. Free.
The directorate of equality, diversity and inclusion in TU Dublin hosts a discussion on creative leadership, with a panel of four inspirational women, chaired by Dr Caroline O'Sullivan ( head of creative media and assistant head of school of media), talking about their personal and career journeys.

8. International Women's Day at Epic The Irish Emigration Museum
Sunday, March 8th, Rebels & Revolutionaries Tours, 11am, 1pm, 3pm
These 45 minute curated tours of Epic focus on women's history and the stories of the pioneering Irish women who have shaped the world, from Mother Jones who fought for worker's rights in 19th and 20th century New York, to Mary Lee, one of the foremost campaigners for women's suffrage in Australia (who feature in Herstory: Ireland's Epic Women, currently on RTÉ One).

An International Women's Day panel discussion at 2pm led by historian Dr Angela Byrne will focus on transnational Irish women and their campaigns for gender equality, with Dr Leanne McCormack, Dr Ebun Joseph, and Dr Ann Marie O'Brien. Epic's Blazing a Trail: Lives and Legacies of Irish Diaspora Women' exhibition celebrates the lives and legacies of 21 pioneering Irish diaspora women of the 19th and 20th centuries (until the end of March).

9. Irish Women Lawyer Association: Erin Brockovich
Monday, March 9th, 7pm, Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield Square, Dublin 7, €14
The Irish Women Lawyers Association host a drinks reception and a screening of the film Erin Brockovich - the legal drama based on a true story stars Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich who sought environmental justice against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California in 1993.

10.Women Rising: Trailblazery's Moon Medicine
Sunday, March 8th, 7-9:30 pm, Pillar Room, Rotunda Hospital, D1; €35 drop-in, booking recommended; Bestie Bundle offer - bring your best pal
The Trailblazery's monthly Moon Medicine experience shines a spotlight for International Women's Day on some inspiring international women activists in Ireland today. With host Kathy Scott of the Trailblazery, collaborator Melanie Lynch of Herstory and guests Razan Ibraheem (Irish-Syrian journalist and feminist) and Salome Mbugua (researcher, gender equality activist), and musician-in-residence Afro-Irish singer-songwriter Tolü Makay.

11. International Working Women's Day Celebration
Saturday, March 7th, 11.45am, in the Communications Workers Union, 575-577 N Circular Rd, Drumcondra, Dublin 1
Event with self-defence workshop for women, workshop on consent, commodification and capitalism. Hosted by the Communist Party of Ireland.

12. Brazilian Professional Network Ireland
Sunday, March 8th, The Loft @ 4 Dame Lane 3-8pm €22.20-35
Inspiring speakers talking about relationships, career, spirituality, wellness, sexuality, with drinks reception, finger food and music.

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times