Temporary plaques were placed round the town of Cahir last night to mark the contributions made by women to the area over the centuries.

The operation was carried out by the Daughters of Dún Iascaigh, dressed in Cumann na mBan uniforms and other costumes of the period, with the support of Cahir Social and Historical Society and Tipperary County Council, for International Women's Day.

The 24 plaques feature the work of artist Alice Maher, a native of Cahir, and celebrate a number of local women as part of the Tipperary Commemorations programme.

Among those recognised was Marian Tobin, the first woman councillor in Co Tipperary in 1920, whose plaque was erected by Cllr Marie Murphy.

She said: "Young girls need to be inspired by positive female role models. To be truly representative, we need to encourage more women to follow in the steps of Marian Tobin and take public office at both local and national level."

Tobin's grand-niece Annette  Condon said the plaques also mark a new walking loop for Cahir for people living within the 5km limit under current Level 5 restrictions.

She said that other people living outside the 5km limit, as well as people from Cahir who are living abroad, "can access the tour virtually via an online map. While the plaques are temporary, we hope that the County Council will consider erecting permanent memorials in due course. Apart from encouraging healthy exercise, we believe that post-Covid, this could provide a new attraction in the town for local people and tourists alike."

Others to have plaques put up in their honour include women of the famine, pregnant women who were sent to Mother and Baby Homes, participants in the Land League, Cumann na mBan and the Anti-Conscription Movement.

Representing Daughters of Dún Iascaigh, who planned and managed the project, Jo O'Neill, said: "It is important that we remember and celebrate these extraordinary women who shaped Cahir. For too long, they have been forgotten. We are now reclaiming and rewriting the history of our town, plaque by plaque.

"The centuries may divide us but we have much in common – these women also knew pandemics, wars, love, pain and loss and yet they prevailed. This is an important message of hope during these current times."

Another woman involved in the project, Mary Caulfield, said that, after a tough year, they wanted to provide some cheer to the local community.

"We loved the idea that the people of the town would wake up to something new to see and talk about. We wore costumes to add a sense of fun to the occasion and also to remember the brave women of the past. 

She and Olivia Lynch, who coordinated the socially distanced installation of the plaques, thanked all who helped with and supported the project including gardaí, the council, the Department of Tourism and Sport, the installation crew, and "all the people, who live or run businesses in the locations where the plaques have been erected".

They reminded people not to congregate at the site of the maps or plaques and to follow physical social distancing and all other Covid-related precautions at all times.

Meanwhile, a collection of art by 20 female artists around the world will be projected onto the walls of two Carlow colleges this evening to celebrate International Women's Day.

The works were put together as a collaboration in art and technology by the Institute of Technology and St Patrick’s College in Carlow.

Entitled, IAMINTHIS, the exhibition was curated by IT Carlow researcher Karolyn McDonnell with support from Klaudia Tarnowska, IT Carlow’s Arts Officer.

Included are artists from Brazil, Lithuania, Sweden, France, Iran, the USA, Colombia, and others.

According to Karolyn McDonnell, the project was devised "in recognition of both institutions’ commitment to celebrating our international community in Carlow and practicing equality, inclusivity and diversity as a lived ethos across both campuses".

The theme of the collection is "a lived experience of the covid-19 pandemic by female artists through their own art language" and how each participant has experienced the restrictions of the last year, depending on their own circumstances, location and choice.

The exhibition will be projected onto the external walls at Carlow College (St Patrick's) at 7pm and IT Carlow at 7.30pm.