I never knew whether to be angry that such heroic pertinacity was called for, or glad that it had the chance of showing itself.
- Virginia Woolf

For the day that's in it, here are some Irish women who refused to take "you can't" for an answer when they set out to shape their lives. These are the women who blazed a trail in the traditional professions so those who came after didn't have to.

  • 1893, Medicine
    Dungannon woman Emily Dickson and Elizabeth Bell of Newry graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) and Queen's College Belfast (now QUB) respectively in the same year. The first female veterinarian was Aleen Cust of Tipperary, who qualified in 1922.

  • 1905, Architecture
    Studying in London, Florence Hobson of Kildare became an architect in 1905.

  • 1906, Engineering
    Galwegian Alice Perry was not only the first woman to gain an engineering degree but the first to be appointed a county surveyor.

  • 1921, Law
    Among many other legal firsts in a distinguished career, Averil Deverell from Greystones in Wicklow was first woman to be called to the Bar.

  • 1925, Accountancy
    Last but not least, Eileen Woodworth of Dublin was admitted to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland in 1925.

Good for them, dammit.