Women’s History Month: Sabina Coyne

Women’s History Month: Sabina Coyne

When I began to think about the four Irish women to profile in this month’s joint celebration of Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month, we had just started celebrating the birthday’s of US First Ladies. It seemed only a natural that I would choose the current ‘First Lady’ of Ireland, Sabina Coyne. Though the President of Ireland is more a ceremonial position than the President of the United States, the current President, Michael D. Higgins is in his second term of a very popular presidency.

All of this made me even more excited to find out what I could about his wife, Sabina Coyne. Sadly, similarly to other First Ladies, there is little written about Sabina. She was born in Cloonrane, Co. Mayo and early in her career decided to study acting. She worked under the legendary Deirdre O’Connell and eventually became one of the founding members of the Focus Theatre.

She met her husband at a party in Dublin and they wed in 1974. She worked next to her husband throughout his political career, but also maintained her involvement with the theater and community arts. Throughout her public career, she’s worked with the Druid Theatre and An Taibhearc.

Sabina is also a longtime advocated for Parents Councils and a parents role in education. She returned to university as a mature student and received a BA in Arts and MA in Theatre from the National University Galway. During her husband’s Presidency, she continued to speak out on issues that she is passionate about, including her opposition to the Iraq War, education, and women’s empowerment. Even with the limited available information about Sabina Coyne, we are delighted to celebrate her lasting career through our blog!

During the Centenary for the Easter Rising in Dublin, Sabina Coyne spoke about the Rising’s hero Constance Markievicz – so it’s no surprise that for our final Women’s History Month we’ll be covering the illustrious Countess!

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