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How Ireland was lost in the 1918 conscription crisis

How Ireland was lost in the 1918 conscription crisis

The historian of revolutions Charles Tilly has pointed out that, in general, revolutionary movements find it easier to mobilise popular support against a perceived threat or injustice rather than in favour of a vision or an ideology. Ireland’s revolution offers considerable evidence to sustain this idea. Unionists were...

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A Poet among Politicians – George Russell & the Irish Convention

A Poet among Politicians – George Russell & the Irish Convention

It was New Year’s Eve and the chairman had been working hard to see if he could save his Convention. He still felt optimistic. The prize was a great one, a beginning of a solution to the Irish problem, but the challenges were dwarfed by what was happening...

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Ulysses' journey - the first sightings of James Joyce’s masterpiece

Ulysses' journey - the first sightings of James Joyce’s masterpiece

STATELY, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: —Introibo ad altare Dei, Halted,...

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John L. Sullivan & the making of an Irish-American sporting legend

John L. Sullivan & the making of an Irish-American sporting legend

Mike Tyson idolised him. Knew his story, admired his ring-craft, his chutzpah. ‘I like his confidence, his arrogance,' he remarked to a reporter from The New York Times more than 70 years after the man himself had died. ‘I like the way he used to say ‘I can...

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Redmond’s place in our national story is as important as any

Redmond’s place in our national story is as important as any

There is no statue of John Redmond in our capital city. There is no street named after him either. His mentor, the man to whom he stayed loyal while others did not, Parnell, enjoys both. And a square as well. Redmond’s tenure as leader of the Irish Party...

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Classroom Bolsheviks - Pay, Politics & Ireland’s National Teachers

Classroom Bolsheviks - Pay, Politics & Ireland’s National Teachers

The years leading up to 1918 had seen growing militancy across many sectors of society. Politics had been transformed by militant unionism and separatism, and the years before the outbreak of war had seen the emergence of a more militant labour movement which had led to the counter-attack by the owners...

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ANALYSIS: From U-Boats to Human Sharks – Why we should remember the tragedy of the SS Hare

ANALYSIS: From U-Boats to Human Sharks – Why we should remember the tragedy of the SS Hare

In the early hours of 14 December 1917, U-62 under Commander Ernst Hashagen saw the lights of a small ship astern off the Kish Bank. It was the Hare carrying a general cargo to Manchester, which had brought the first consignment of urgently needed food supplies to Dublin for workers and their...

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Between armed rebellion and democratic revolution: the Irish Question in 1917

Between armed rebellion and democratic revolution: the Irish Question in 1917

The House of Commons filled with noise and animosity.  It was 10 May 1916 and John Dillon, the veteran Irish Parliamentary Party MP, was skilfully skewering the British Government’s response to the events in Dublin over the previous two weeks: the ongoing executions of the rebel leaders of the...

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Introducing de Valera – The East Clare by-election and the rise of an Irish political leader

Introducing de Valera – The East Clare by-election and the rise of an Irish political leader

The East Clare by-election is remembered, a century later, because it announced Éamon de Valera’s arrival on the national stage. Looking back at it with the knowledge that he dominated Irish life for the next half century, we tend to see that arrival as inevitable. But there...

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FEATURE: White Weddings in War-time Ireland

FEATURE: White Weddings in War-time Ireland

Weddings today are big business. As of 2016 the global wedding industry was worth an estimated €275 billion, while it is believed that on average Irish couples spend €25,000 on their big day. Having recently gotten engaged, I was quick to learn how much both costs and expectations build up, and...

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FEATURE: America, the War & Ireland’s cause

FEATURE: America, the War & Ireland’s cause

As Woodrow Wilson campaigned for re-election to the White House in 1916, he tried – as best he could – to keep foreign controversies and conflicts far removed from the concerns of American voters. On 4 August 1914 – the same day Great Britain declared war on Germany – Wilson proclaimed US neutrality...

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ANALYSIS: Driving Irish Industry

ANALYSIS: Driving Irish Industry

by Seán Ó Riain As a child in the 1970s I regularly sat in the back of a car travelling along the banks of the Lee at the end of a long journey to visit relations in Cork city. Even to a youngster there was something unusual...

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FEATURE: When Ford Motors came to Cork

FEATURE: When Ford Motors came to Cork

by Dr Leanne Blaney A new family business opened their Cork offices at 36 South Mall street in April 1917. They would only remain at these premises for a matter of months before moving to new offices at the ‘Marine, Cork’, yet the moment of their arrival is a milestone...

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George Bernard Shaw: Joyriding on the Front

George Bernard Shaw: Joyriding on the Front

It was a request from the General. The Commander in Chief, Sir Douglas Haig, was inviting George Bernard Shaw to visit the Front Line and to write about it. Shaw was at this time, 6 January 1917, considered a major critic of the war. His pamphlet Common Sense About the War had...

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William Orpen: Ireland's War Artist

William Orpen: Ireland's War Artist

The newspaper announcement was made on 30 January 1917. The Irish artist William Orpen had been appointed an official war artist and was to be sent to the battle lines on the Western front. Under a headline trumpeting it as a ‘Unique Honour’ for the ‘Irish Artist’, the...

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The Story of James Joyce’s ‘tiresome book’ – and it ain’t Ulysses!

The Story of James Joyce’s ‘tiresome book’ – and it ain’t Ulysses!

On 1 January 1917, James Joyce in Zurich received a telegram. It confirmed that his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, had finally been published. Joyce’s wish that it be published before the end of the year, 1916, had been granted. Just. A young American Publisher...

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The West Awakes: The story of Mayo footballers & the 1916 All-Ireland final

The West Awakes: The story of Mayo footballers & the 1916 All-Ireland final

This is an amended version of an article that was first published in The Irish Times on the All-Ireland football final weekend, September 2016. ******* In this year of blockbuster centenaries, you’d be excused if this one slipped under your radar. It concerns the footballers of Mayo and came eight...

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‘Shot like a dog’: the murder of Francis Sheehy Skeffington and the search for truth

‘Shot like a dog’: the murder of Francis Sheehy Skeffington and the search for truth

‘I wish to appear for myself, I am the father of the murdered man, Mr. Sheehy Skeffington’. J.B. Skeffington stood up before a crowded Court of Appeal in the Four Courts Dublin on 23 August 1916 at the opening of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the death of...

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FEATURE: Tom Kettle’s words of war

FEATURE: Tom Kettle’s words of war

‘Tom Kettle was horrified first by the Rising and then by the executions which followed the Rising. When he came to meet his beloved daughter, she fled from his presence. He was wearing his British uniform and soldiers wearing that uniform had searched Betty's home and sharply interrogated...

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The Life & Legacy of Roger Casement

The Life & Legacy of Roger Casement

In the first week of August 1917, on the first anniversary of the execution of Roger Casement, commemorative events were held in Co. Kerry, where he had been arrested coming ashore at Banna Stand on the Good Friday prior to the rebellion of Easter week, 1916. Here, historian Prof. Mary E. Daly,...

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From Somme to Silver Tassie: Seán O’Casey & the Contested Legacy of 1916

From Somme to Silver Tassie: Seán O’Casey & the Contested Legacy of 1916

In the final scene of Sean O’Casey’s play about 1916, The Plough and the Stars, two British soldiers guard the dead bodies of a working class Loyalist woman and two children in the attic of a Dublin tenement. They drink tea and sing the army marching song ...

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Ulster Unionism and the Somme

Ulster Unionism and the Somme

Almost 2,000 soldiers from the 36th Ulster Division died on the first day of the Somme campaign. When it was withdrawn from the line, the division had won a reputation as courageous soldiers. The men had actually broken through the German lines, unlike most of the British infantry on that bloody...

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A Somme Story – the last letters of Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick

A Somme Story – the last letters of Thomas Gordon Fitzpatrick

Late last year I sat with Belinda Curtis in her kitchen in Greystones, Co. Wicklow as she brought out three large folders, marked ‘1914’, ‘1915’ and ‘1916’. The folders, full of her great-grandfather’s letters from the First World War, were in remarkably good condition and...

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Ireland and the Battle of the Somme

Ireland and the Battle of the Somme

It used to be a Roman road, hence the arrow-like straightness. Today it is the D929. You will pass cemeteries, British, Australian and Canadian war memorials and a cafe called Le Tommy.  Even for a superannuated MAMIL (Middle-aged man in lycra to the uninitiated) it takes barely 30 minutes to...

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Here comes the summer: how Daylight Saving Time came to Ireland

Here comes the summer: how Daylight Saving Time came to Ireland

Daylight Saving, or Summer Time, was introduced in Great Britain and Ireland on 21 May 1916. The Irish daily newspapers published articles on the eve of the change explaining the measure: ‘Just put on your clock and watch an hour, and work, play, and sleep when their fingers indicate the appointed...

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The Lady and the V.C.

The Lady and the V.C.

By Ed Mulhall The lady is writing at her desk. The April sun is framing her through the drawing room window. At this desk folk tales were transcribed, sagas and plays written, tales of Cúchulain and Lir, a tradition established. Here too, she wrote a diary of her...

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Pearse’s Christmas Ghosts, 1915

Pearse’s Christmas Ghosts, 1915

‘Here be ghosts that I have raised this Christmas tide, ghosts of dead men that have bequeathed a trust to us living men. Ghosts are troublesome things in a house (or a family), as we knew even before Ibsen taught us. There is only one way to appease a...

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Carson, Redmond, the Coalition and the War, 1915

Carson, Redmond, the Coalition and the War, 1915

By Ed Mulhall When Unionist leader Edward Carson rose to speak to a packed House of Commons on 2 November 1915 he was breaking an awkward consensus that had lasted since the outbreak of the war, where there was no formal public criticism of war policy. He spoke to explain his reasons...

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ANALYSIS: Who were the Irish Anzacs at Gallipoli?

ANALYSIS: Who were the Irish Anzacs at Gallipoli?

It has been estimated that some 6,600 Irish born men and women served in the Australian Imperial Force during World War One. From the research carried out by Jeff Kildea we know that the Irish born comprised 1.58% of enlistments in the Australian army in the war. While at first this figure...

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Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.