Deverell at her Greystones home. Colourised by GG.
t was on November 1st, 1921 that Averil Deverell and Frances Kyle became the first Irish women to be called to the Bar of Ireland.
A fact that made news not only in Ireland but in the UK, the US and India.
Ms Deverell – who used to live on Church Road before moving to Applewood Heights, where she passed in 1979 after a 40-year career – was the first woman to practise as a barrister in Ireland or the UK.
With this coming weekend in Greystones seeing two separate nights of celebrations – also honouring Wicklow’s Kate Tyrell, Ireland’s first female sea captain – of a light show at The Cove on Friday from 5pm to 9pm (bring a blanket, and a cushion, and some psychedelics) and a gathering of writers, doctors, lawyers and other fans at The Whale on Saturday from 8pm – this afternoon, local historian Rosemary Raughter and Deverell biographer Liz Goldthorpe laid some flowers at the woman’s grave in old Grove cemetery.
Over to Rosemary…
On November 1st, 2021, 100 years to the day after Greystones woman Averil Deverell became one of the first two women to be called to the Irish Bar, Greystones Archaeological and Historical Society joined forces with Averil’s biographer, Liz Goldthorpe, to honour her achievements at a short ceremony at her grave in the old Grove cemetery, Greystones. Both Rosemary Raughter, GAHS chairperson, and Liz spoke briefly, and laid wreaths on the grave, which has recently been renovated by the Bar Council.
Born in 1893, Averil spent almost all her life in Greystones. A supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, a graduate of TCD and a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse and ambulance driver during World War I, she went on to become the first woman to practice as a barrister in the newly-formed Irish Free State, and enjoyed a long and distinguished career before retiring in 1969 as Mother of the Bar.
She died in 1979, but her memory lives on in Greystones, where GAHS held a celebratory evening in her honour back in 2019, as well as in legal and in women’s history.
You can explore Averil Deverell’s story even more here, with our November 2019 interview with Rosemary right outside what was once the pioneering lady’s Church Road home. You can grab your tickets for Saturday’s love-in here.
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