Professor Claire Connolly from University College Cork will speak at the ‘Women and the Sea’ symposium, addressing how the Irish novelist, Maria Edgeworth, represented her experiences of the Irish Sea. The paper discusses the ways in which Maria Edgeworth imagines the significance of the Irish sea, both in her fiction and in her extensive correspondence. In the writing, the sea crossing seems at once momentous in metaphorical terms and insignificant as a practical undertaking. Edgeworth’s writing is strongly invested in the ideology of technological and infrastructural improvement but it also yields evidence of instabilities of significance and scale. These questions will be assessed via a close consideration of the relevance and meaning of the Menai straits for Edgeworth. Her depiction of the hazardous journey across the narrow stretch of tidal water that separates the island of Anglesey from the rest of North Wales. is shaped by her family’s lively interest in civil and marine engineering. Her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth, developed a plan to tunnel under the straits, while her brother William sought employment on Thomas Telford’s bridge and road building project.