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18 September 2014
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Wars and Conflict - The Plantation of Ulster

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Brehon law did not give women equal rights
- Prof. Fergus Kelly

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It has to be admitted that Brehon law was very much a male-oriented system and normally it did not give independent legal capacity to a woman. However, women did have certain legal rights, particularly if they had no brothers and had inherited a holding of land. Women could also enjoy the legal rights of an adult male if they had a profession such as poetry or medicine. Also in a marriage into which a woman had made the main property contribution, she made the decisions with regard to the household economy. And even in a marriage into which the wife had brought little or nothing, she was given the legal right to overturn her husband’s decisions.
 

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