President pays tribute to famed historian and educator Sr Margaret Mac Curtain OP

President pays tribute to famed historian and educator Sr Margaret Mac Curtain OP Sr Margaret MacCurtain

President Michael D Higgins was one of many who expressed “great sadness” at the Death Sr Mac Curtain, who passed away recently at the age of 91.

“I am among the many, in so many parts of Irish society, who will have heard with great sadness of the death of Sr Margaret Mac Curtain, Dominican sister, historian, educator, human rights advocate, feminist and writer,” President Higgins said.

President Higgins added that “there were so many aspects of Irish life, past and present, to which she made a unique and valuable contribution”.

Born in 1929, Sr Mac Curtain joined the Domincan order in 1950, in which she held a number of positions including Prioress of Sion Hill Convent.


She spent 30 years as a lecturer in history in UCD, and she was awarded the Eire Society of Boston Gold Medal in 1993 for her writings on Irish women’s history.

President Higgins described her as being “dedicated to her religious vocation and inspired by the Second Vatican Council”.

“Sr Margaret Mac Curtain displayed her tremendous talent in so many areas, and she will be remembered not only for her academic achievements but also for her tireless campaigning for social justice.

“We owe her a profound debt of gratitude for her advocacy on the abolition of corporal punishment in schools and for the rights of children with special educational needs, and indeed for her academic work in which she highlighted the oft neglected role of women in Irish history.”


In a biographical article written before her death, Sr Margaret wrote that: “The Second Vatican Council (1962–64) brought profound changes to religious life for women, a growing sense of human rights, a realisation of mission to the poorest… I gradually became aware of other inequalities, such as the position of women worldwide.

“My determination to write women into mainstream history, though resisted for years, has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams!” Sr Margaret said.