Trinity in War and Revolution: 1912-1923

Posted on: 21 December 2015

The remarkable stories of how Ireland’s transformative decade of 1912-23 was experienced by the students, staff and alumni of Trinity are revealed in a new book called Trinity in War and Revolution, 1912-1923, was launched by the Chief Justice, Susan Denham, in Trinity College Dublin recently.

Sitting at the heart of Dublin city centre, Trinity College Dublin was both a witness to and participant in the tumultuous events of the period 1912-23, which transformed Dublin, Ireland, and the wider world. Trinity in War and Revolution tells the story not only of an institution, but of its wider community, exploring how the men and women of Trinity experienced this fascinating era.

Trinity experienced conflict at home and abroad. Thousands of Trinity students and graduates fought, and almost five hundred died, in military service during the Great War and its aftermath. Trinity was also an important site of armed conflict during the 1916 Rising. Trinity's complex role in the period is eloquently symbolised in the fact that two of the defining figures of the two Irelands which emerged in 1921, Edward Carson and Éamon de Valera, were Trinity men.

"Trinity, traditionally a unionist institution, went from a position of great prestige and influence at the end of the nineteenth century to having this position challenged by the cumulative impact of the Great War, the Easter Rising, and establishment of the Free State. The institution showed its resilience in the decades that followed and adapted itself to Ireland’s new political arrangements, ultimately re-claiming a position at the centre of Irish life," explains Dr Tomás Irish, author of Trinity in War and Revolution and lecturer in Modern History at Swansea University.

The book details fascinating stories of the men and women at the heart of the Trinity community. For example, in 1912, a student protest was central to the defeat of a ill-advised board amendment which sought to exclude Trinity from Home Rule legislation. Two years later, the Provost, J.P. Mahaffy, forbade ‘a man called Pearse’ from speaking to the university’s Gaelic Society on account of his anti-First World War agitation. In 1916, in the midst of the rising led by Pearse, a young undergraduate called Eileen Corrigan put herself in much danger by journeying across Dublin on the second day of the Easter Rising in order to sit an examination.

Dr Tomás Irish  and Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast at the launch of 'Trinity in War and Revolution'

The book launch was marked by an expert panel discussion on ‘Ireland in War and Revolution, 1912-1923’ in the Printing House, Trinity, at 6.30pm on Monday, December 7th, 2015. Speakers at the event were Eunan O’Halpin, Professor of Contemporary Irish History, Trinity; Ronan Fanning, Professor of Modern History, UCD; Dr Tomás Irish, lecturer in Modern History, Swansea University; Dr Catriona Crowe, National Archives of Ireland; Dr Anne Dolan , Associate Professor in Modern Irish History, Trinity and Dr Caitriona Clear, NUI Galway. The event forms part of Trinity’s Decade of Commemoration programme.

Trinity in War and Revolution, Dr Tomás Irish, Royal Irish Academy. €30.

Media Coverage:

Moncrieff, Newstalk, 23 December, 2016

University Times, December 11, 2015

Media Contact:

Fiona Tyrrell, Media Relations Officer | | +353 1 896 3551