I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized From Salonika to Soloheadbeg

From Salonika to Soloheadbeg

John Borgonovo
In A Time of War: Tipperary 1914-1918, by John Dennehy, Merrion, 288 pp, £16.99, ISBN: 978-1908928214 Sometimes it seems that public engagement with the First World War has been reduced to angry newspaper letters exchanged every autumn over the wearing of the poppy. One can disagree over the proper method of remembering the Great War yet still recognise its impact on Irish history. The European conflagration fundamentally changed Ireland, creating the conditions that made possible the revolutionary events of 1916 to 1923. There seemed to be little interest in the war in Ireland until relatively recently. Starting in the 1990s, a number of books examined Irish battlefield service, works by historians like Myles Dungan and Thomas Johnstone. More recently, a number of county-wide tabulations of war dead have inspired significant local interest, with Gerry White and Brendan O’Shea’s A Great Sacrifice: Cork Servicemen Who Died in the Great War (Evening Echo Press, 2010) offering the best example of what might be called First World War heritage scholarship. Despite the pioneering work of historians like Keith Jeffery, David Fitzpatrick, Timothy Bowman and Thomas Hennessey, academic treatment of Ireland’s wartime experience has generally followed, rather than led, public interest. Until recently Irish universities focused more on the War of Independence, with little direct overlap between the two conflicts. Each event retained its own separate scholarship, affiliated to but independent of one another, like diners privately conversing at separate tables in the same restaurant. More recent work has explored the Irish home front by deploying the local study model, used to great effect by War of Independence historians. These include Colin Cousins’s fine book Armagh and the Great War (The History Press, 2011); Padraig Yeates’s well-received, A City in Wartime: Dublin 1914-1918 (Gill and Macmillan, 2012); and my own, The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918 (Cork University Press, 2013). John Dennehy has continued the trend with his commendable new research monograph, In a Time of War: Tipperary 1914-1918 (Merrion, 2013). Co Tipperary offers an intriguing area for investigation, as it mixes rural communities with a number of urban centres. Though an IRA hotbed from 1919 to 1921, the county also hosted the garrison towns of Clonmel, Cahir and Tipperary. Well-established connections between the local population and the British army are exploited in the book’s first chapter when Dennehy examines public responses to the declaration of war. He draws a neat comparison between the outbreaks of the First World War, the…

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