Background to war
In July 1914 the first shots were fired of what would eventually become the First World War. This moment came at a very significant stage in Irish history. A bill which would see the introduction of Home Rule to Ireland was about to pass into law and the country was on the cusp of a conflict between those who supported and rejected this development. Two armed organisations were formed in Ireland on either side of this political divide. The Ulster Volunteer Force who opposed Home Rule and the Irish Volunteers who supported it. The outbreak of World War One suspended the possibility of conflict between these two sides. The leaders of both organisations agreed to support the war effort in the belief that it would help their cause after the war was over.
“North and South, Catholic and Protestant, and whatever the origin of their race might have been...standing shoulder to shoulder, would defend the good order and peace of Ireland, and defend her shores against any foreign foe”
John Redmond, leader of Irish Volunteers
In 1914 large numbers of Irish men from across the political divide enlisted in the British Army. Some never returned to Ireland; all of them witnessed first-hand the horrors of war. The men who did come home found a dramatically different Ireland on their return.
Lives lost to war have been remembered at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral since the middle ages. Today we continue this tradition through annual Remembrance Services. World War One was one of the most destructive conflicts in Irish history. 100 years on from this war we explore how this conflict affected the Cathedral and its community and solemnly remember all those whose lives were and continue to be affected by war.
The stories behind how
World War One affected
| || || |