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A Victory for Women’s Lib in Athenry (1972)

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A Victory for Lib-Athenry’s women allowed into ‘men only’ club

Source: Evening Press, December 9th 1972

IMG_1139A blow for women’s lib has been struck in the Galway town of of Athenry. The last “all male” establishment in the thriving town has, at last, opened its doors to women,

Men only club

IMG_1138The establishment was the Canton Memorial Club, a place in which the men of Athenry have gathered for the past fifty years or more to play snooker, billiards, draughts, chess, and cards and to watch television and  read newspapers,

None of Athenry’s womenfolk were permitted to become members of the Canton Club,

which has always had a very healthy membership list. Currently it is in excess of 100, counting junior members.

Females welcome

However, a few days ago, following the annual general meeting of the club committee, it was announced that the door of the club was now open to female membership. There was an immediate re­sponse. Today wives, sweet­hearts, mothers and sisters of the menfolk are already enrolled as members. At the rate things are going the men in the club will shortly be outnumbered.   

‘Billiard Wives’

Typical of the situation of the Athenry Canton Club mem­bers is Mr. John Joe Brady, a

member of the committee, which sanctioned female membership. “My mother, Nora, my sister, Mary, and my wife, Una all joined up,” said Mr. Bradv. Other women, who were among the first of the ‘billiard wives’ to join the club were Mrs. Maureen Waldron, sister-in-law of the chairman, Mr. Eddie Waldron, Mrs. Scán Farrell and Mrs. P. A. Somers.         

“Altogether there are now more than twenty female members, and the applications are stiIl coming in,” said Mr. Brady.

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Extending range of social amenities

He added that the committee arrived at its decision in an effort to extend the range of social amenities available for the women of Athenry. The club is a good one, having large centrally heated rooms for television, P.T. classrooms, card-playing, reading, and, of course, a top-class billiards room for a game at which there are, in Athenry, at least a dozen top-class players.

A touch of ‘male chauvinism’

The lady members will be encouraged to use all the amenities of the club, and it is hoped to have a women’s billiards and snooker league organised. A bad day will come for the menfolk if any of their wives proves to have greater skill at the table than they have.

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This is one development, which, no doubt, is already being closely watched. There is just one touch of what could be alleged to be “male chauvinism” about the gesture of the Canton Club committee. The membership  fee  for women is exactly half the membership fee of £1.

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