Nearly every part of Irish society was affected by World War One. The exact number of Irishmen and women who lost their lives as a result of the war is not known, estimates vary from 20,000 up to nearly 50,000. The Cathedral’s community and congregation suffered losses on a similar scale to other parts of society, however, some families were disproportionately affected. The “French” and “La Touche” families for example both suffered three deaths and are remembered through monuments in the Cathedral.
The majority of Irish men who fought in World War One did not die but returned home. Many veterans carried a physical legacy of the war through injuries incurred. Indeed many men continued to die after the war had finished as a direct result of their involvement. The psychological scars of the horrors which they had witnessed stayed with most for the rest of their lives. For some these scars manifested themselves in an unwillingness to speak about the war. While for others the war cast a shadow over veterans lives from which they never escaped. Families who had lost a member during the war struggled to make sense of this loss in the wake of political changes in Ireland.
Every part of Irish society was involved in, and affected by, World War One. This is reflected in the lives of those who lived in the area near Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Bride Street borders the Cathedral grounds on the east side: from this street alone 31 Irish men were killed during World War One with the McDonnell family losing three sons to the conflict.
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