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Features

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 new 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...

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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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Tom Kettle’s words of war

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 and Death of Roger Casement

The Life and Death of Roger Casement

The trial, execution and indeed the career of Roger Casement, the last of the sixteen leaders of the 1916 Rising to be executed, is quite different from the other executed men. He did not take part in the Rising; he was arrested in Kerry on Good Friday, and was being interrogated...

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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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How Leix Won the All-Ireland Hurling Championship of 1915

How Leix Won the All-Ireland Hurling Championship of 1915

By Dr. Paul Rouse On Saturday night, 24 October 1915, a group of about 25 men from Queen’s County stayed in a hotel on Gardiner Street in Dublin. They were the hurlers of Leix - as Queen’s County was officially known in GAA circles - and they were in...

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Preparing to speak to history

Preparing to speak to history

By Ed Mulhall Speaking to history on two occasions Padraig Pearse stood to deliver key statements of Irish Revolution. On the second occasion no images survive and what is known of the reception is mixed. On Easter Monday 1916, Pearse read the proclamation outside the GPO. According to volunteer officer and...

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Pacificism or Physical Force?

Pacificism or Physical Force?

By Ed Mulhall It was a direct challenge. A plea. It was sent by one activist and idealist to another. Sent with respect and admiration, at what both perceived as a crossroads of history. It was sent from the pacifist to the Volunteer. But it was more than a personal...

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The Plunkett-Casement 'Ireland report': what was it and why does it matter?

The Plunkett-Casement 'Ireland report': what was it and why does it matter?

by John Gibney Introduction The 'Ireland report' was composed at some point in April-May 1915; it was a hypothetical plan for an Irish rebellion that was to take place during the First World War, geared towards a German audience. It provided details of what a potential German expeditionary force should expect...

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Ireland’s Lord Lieutenant: ‘a fount of all that is slimy in our national life’

Ireland’s Lord Lieutenant: ‘a fount of all that is slimy in our national life’

By Mark Duncan The inauguration of a new Lord Lieutenant for Ireland was an occasion for pomp and ceremony. In February 1915, when Sir Ivor Churchill Guest, the 1st Viscount Wimborne (along with his close entourage of a private secretary and two aide-de-camps) arrived in Dublin as a replacement for the...

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'Common Sense' and the War: George Bernard Shaw in 1914

'Common Sense' and the War: George Bernard Shaw in 1914

By Ed Mulhall By the winter of 1913 George Bernard Shaw was at the height of his creative powers as a dramatist and already a major figure in political debate and activism in London and internationally. During 1913 he had appeared on platforms supporting suffrage, Irish Home Rule (with Roger Casement) and...

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Shadow Soldiers Flickering on a Screen: Irish Cinema and the Beginning of World War I

Shadow Soldiers Flickering on a Screen: Irish Cinema and the Beginning of World War I

“It is ever so much more a patriotic thing to go down the quays and give the soldiers a good send-off than it is to sit in a darkened picture house watching, perhaps, 'shadow soldiers' flickering on a screen,” reported Paddy, the Ireland correspondent of the British cinema...

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'…in comradeship with our brethren in the North, we will ourselves defend'

'…in comradeship with our brethren in the North, we will ourselves defend'

By Ed Mulhall On the afternoon of Monday, August 3rd 1914, Sir Edward Grey, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs rose in a packed House of Commons to give an update on the developing crisis in Europe. Chairs were placed along the floor of the crowded chamber - something that...

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Punching the Wind: Captain Jack White, the misfit of the Irish Revolution

Punching the Wind: Captain Jack White, the misfit of the Irish Revolution

By Ed Mulhall The withdrawal by An Post of the commemorative stamp for the Citizen Army, because of the misidentification of the Army leader Captain Jack White, is perhaps the most fitting memorial for a man who in his own term was a 'misfit' in the story of the Irish...

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A Poet Discouraged - Yeats, 1913

A Poet Discouraged - Yeats, 1913

By Ed Mulhall In October 1913, W. B. Yeats published privately through his sisters’ Cuala Press 50 copies of Poems Written in Discouragement, 1912-1913.  This book gathered together the poems inspired by the controversy surrounding the proposal by Sir Hugh Lane to establish a modern art gallery in Dublin and...

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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.