Cathleen Revisited

Cathleen Ni Houlihan
“many a child will be born and there will be no mother at the christening”

Cathleen ni Houlihan is the female personification of Ireland. She is depicted as an old woman, with her four fields (the provinces of Ireland) taken from her and left homeless. Yeat’s one act play tells of how she persuaded young Irish men to go off and fight for Ireland and become martyrs, “many a child will be born and there will be no father at the christening.” This ‘blood sacrifice’ rejuvenated Cathleen and made her young and alive again.

A female personification of Ireland today should show the blood sacrifice being made by many women in Ireland every day, in the name of the church’s opposition to contraception and abortion.

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