Gendered Community Roles

In this extract Betty Dempsey remembers her mother used to go out at all hours of the night delivering babies or caring for the dead in the community. She notes that her mother died quite young, at 48, from pneumonia which she caught while out during the night.

The importance of community in the participant's recollections of their lives in Dublin inner city can be understood in terms of the functions individuals residing within it perform. In particular, the accounts of the participants reveal that community provided a source of comfort, support and care. In the memories of the participants it is women who very often performed these caring roles. According to their recollections, a woman was present at the entry of an individual into the world as well as when a person left this world. Women, from within the community, performed the roles of delivery babies and the care of new mothers as well as washing and laying out the dead and keening (grieving) at their wake.

Click on the link below the gallery to browse the collection of material pertaining the roles performed by individuals within the community.

Selection of images relating to women's roles within the community