Ireland’s Great War
By: Kevin Myers
Here, name by name, parish by parish, province by province, Kevin Myers details Ireland’s intimate involvement with one of the greatest conflicts in human history, the First World War of 1914 to 1918, which left no Irish family untouched.
With this gathering of his talks, unpublished essays and material distilled from The Irish Times and elsewhere, Myers lays out the grounds of his research and findings in Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. He revisits the main theatres of war in Europe – The Somme, Ypres and Verdun, the war at sea and Gallipoli. He documents these bloody engagements through the lives of those involved, from Dublin to Cork, Sligo to Armagh, to the garrison towns of Athy, Limerick, Mullingar and beyond.
In Ireland’s Great War Myers uncoils a vital counter-narrative to the predominant readings in nationalist history, revealing the complex and divided loyalties of a nation coming of age in the early twentieth century. This remarkable historical record pieced together the neglected shards of Ireland’s recent past and imparts a necessary understanding of the political process that saw Sinn Féin’s electoral victory in 1918 and the founding of the Irish Free State. By honouring Ireland’s forgotten dead on the centenary of the Great War. Myers enables a rediscovery of purpose that will speak to future generations.
Kevin Myers, broadcaster, journalist and writer, has pioneered the study of the First World War in Ireland. He studied history at University College Dublin and is author of a novel, Banks of Green Willow(2001). He wrote an acclaimed memoir, Watching the Door (2006). Its prequel, A Single Steadfast Heart, is to be published in 2015.