Featuring Lelia Doolan and Bernadette McAliskey.
As a result of the pandemic, the relationship that intersects age, gender and public space has never been so fraught. The need to see, hear and prioritise older people has been rendered explicitly visible. These women have been blazing trails for 50 years. They were moving mountains long before hashtags. They are the ‘difficult’ women, the brass necks, the sharp, the fearless: the mad, the bad and the dangerous.
Created by Emma O'Grady and produced by Up Up Up, with Copper Alley, in association with Dublin Fringe Festival and Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival, with support from Galway County Council and the Irish Women Lawyers Association along with the Community Knowledge Initiative, Institute for Lifecourse and Society and The Feminist Storytelling Network (NUI Galway) and 168 donors on GoFundMe
MBD was originally recorded in Aug/Sept 2020 and screened for free online as part of Dublin Fringe Festival and Age & Opportunity's Bealtaine Festival AT HOME.
Lelia Doolan was born in 1934. She is a film and theatre director, producer, journalist and activist. Her contribution to the artistic and cultural life of Ireland is nothing short of ground-breaking. In the 1960s, Archbishop John Charles McQuaid once referred to Lelia Doolan as ‘mad, bad and dangerous’. Lelia began working at RTÉ in the 1960s.
By age 27, she was directing The Riordans, and soon after founded 7 Days, the precursor to Prime Time. She co-authored a book Down and Be Counted following her resignation from RTE over their commercial policies. In 1971 she became the first female artistic director of the Abbey Theatre since Lady Gregory.
She has a PhD in Anthropology and also has qualifications in the Irish language, in science, and in Homeopathy. She established Ireland’s first course in Media Communications at Rathmines College (now DIT). Michael D Higgins appointed her chairperson of the Irish Film Board when it re-constituted in 1993.
She co-founded the Galway Film Fleadh and the Cinemobile. She was part of the Burren Acton Group against the building of an interpretive centre in Mullaghmore ending up in the High Court successfully preventing the build and resulting in fundamental change to Irish planning legislation. S
he has joined in the protests against the use of Shannon airport by US military, the Corrib Gas Pipe Line and lent her support to the equal marriage campaign and Repeal the 8th. M
ost recently, she was involved in the re-opening of Yeats’s Tower Thoor Ballylee and spearheaded the building of Galway’s art-house cinema the Picture Palace. 2011 saw the premiere of her critically-acclaimed and award-winning documentary about Bernadette McAliskey called Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey.
Bernadette McAliskey was born Bernadette Devlin in 1947 in Co. Tyrone.
She has been a civil rights activist since the 1960s where her lived experiences of the forces of injustice and inequality led to her becoming an advocate and an instigator of socialist reform in the North of Ireland.
In 1969 she was the youngest woman ever elected as an MP to Westminster.
She was jailed for her participation in the Battle of the Bogside in Derry in 1969. In 1981 she was shot 9 times in her home in front of her children.
Today she works for STEP, South Tyrone Empowerment Programme, which provides services, mentorship and training and empowers marginalised groups and individuals to participate in the socio-economic life of their community.