Ireland and the First World War - WFA conference in Cork

Posted on centenarynews.com on 14 September 2015
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A Western Front Association conference in Cork on October 10th 2015 will consider the impact of the First World War on Ireland.

Speakers will examine the war's legacy on both sides of the Irish border, looking at the experiences of soldiers and nurses, as well as life on the home front.

The conference will include a profile of Major Willie Redmond, an Irish nationalist politician who was killed aged 56 while serving with the Royal Irish Regiment at the Battle of Messines in 1917.

The 10th Irish Division, one of the first British Army units formed after Lord Kitchener's appeal for volunteers, will also be featured. Following the August Offensive at Gallipoli, it was sent to northern Greece in October 1915 for the Salonika campaign.

Background

All of the island of Ireland was ruled as part of the UK in 1914-18.

More than 200,000 Irishmen, both Catholics and Protestants, are estimated to have volunteered to fight for Britain.

But Ireland's memory of the Great War was complicated by the fight for independence. The Easter Rising against British rule broke out in 1916, the same year as Irishmen fought in the Battle of the Somme. Partition into the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland followed in 1922.

In a speech marking the WW1 Centenary in 2014, Irish President Michael D.Higgins declared that the conflict should not be left 'a blank space' in Irish history.

The WFA's Cork conference is entitled 'United and Divided: The Impact of the First World War on Britain, Ireland and the EmpireFull details of the programme can be found on the Western Front Association website. The event is organised by the  Cork, Dublin, Antrim and Down Branches of the WFA.

Source: Western Front Association (event information); Office of the President of Ireland; Wikipedia; various (background)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News