TCD Historian Edits Royal Irish Academy Book on the First World War: Our War: Ireland and The Great War

Posted on: 06 November 2008

Commemorating the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, a Royal Irish Academy book Our War: Ireland and the Great War edited by TCD Professor in of Modern European History, John Horne, will be launched on Remembrance Sunday November 9th.

The book accompanies the ten-part RTÉ Radio 1 Thomas Davis lecture series and a website. The first programme in the series featuring Professor John Horne will be broadcast on Monday November 10th at 10 pm.

Our War: Ireland and the Great War, is written by some of Ireland’s leading historians. It includes contributions from TCD Professors Terence Brown and David Fitzpatrick and from Dr Catriona Pennell, who completed her PhD in the Department of History this year. It provides an Irish perspective on World War One, which saw over 200,000 Irish soldiers fighting and some 30,000 dying. Throughout the book a number of the writers argue that the Great War brought gains as well as losses to Ireland and that it had an impact on every aspect of Irish life, whether personal, social, economic or political.

“In every sense the Great War was ‘our war’. Since it contributed decisively to the major turning point of twentieth century Irish history, 1913-1923, which saw a polarisation and realignment of national and political identities that has lasted to the present,” states the book’s editor Professor John Horne. “The book originated from two events held in Trinity in 2007. The first, an exhibition in the Library entitled ‘Ireland and the First World War’, was organised by TCD’s Keeper of Early Printed Books, Charles Benson. The second was the annual Glucksman Memorial Symposium ‘The Unthinkable: Europe, Ireland and the Great War’ organised by the Dean of Arts and Humanities, Professor Terence Brown, and the Long Room Hub.”

Our War: Ireland and the Great War relays the experience of ordinary Irish people during the war and chronicles the effect this war had, and still has, on Irish society. The lives and deaths of soldiers in the trenches, volunteer nurses, women, politicians and the workforce are all examined. Archival letters, diaries, wills and illustrations, including a number from Trinity’s Library collection, are reproduced documenting the pride, fear, anxiety and sorrow felt by soldiers, nurses, sweethearts, families and friends in the period.

About the Editor
John Horne is Professor of Modern European History at Trinity College Dublin where he is Director of the Centre for War Studies. He is a leading expert on the Great War internationally and has published with Alan Kramer the prize winning German Atrocities, 1914 and A History of Denial. He is currently editing the Blackwell Companion to the First World War and writing a history of France in the Great War.

Throughout the week to mark the 90th Anniversary of the end of the Great War
RTÉ is running a wide selection of World War One programming on radio and television based on the Great War. The Irish Times will also run a special feature in on Saturday October 8th.