by ehistoryadmin on January 30, 2014

County Kildare Archaeological Society

Presents a one-day seminar: ‘They called it “the Great War”’

Saturday 8 March 2014

Hotel Keadeen, Newbridge



Professor Raymond Gillespie


Professor John Horne

Tom Burke MBE

Fionnuala Walsh

Frank Taaffe

James Durney


Seminar Chairman: Professor Raymond Gillespie

9.45 -10.15 Registration

10.15 – 10.30 Welcome and Seminar Introduction

Conleth Manning: President, CKAS, Professor Raymond Gillespie, Department of History NUI Maynooth and CKAS Honorary Editor

10.30 – 11.10 ‘Kaiser’s Battle: 21 March 1918. A black day for Kildare soldiers.’

James Durney: Council Member, CKAS

On 21 March 1918 forty-two German divisions launched an offensive on the Western Front which they hoped would end the war. The massive German onslaught hit the undermanned British lines where a wedge could be driven through the Anglo-French front. On that first day of the decisive ‘Kaiser’s Battle’ twenty-four Kildare men lost their lives.

 11.10 – 11.35 Coffee

 11.35 – 12.15 “South Kildare and World War I”

Frank Taaffe: Council Member, CKAS

How the people of Athy and its hinterland responded to the call to arms and how the social, economic and political life of the area was affected by the carnage in battlefields as far apart as Flanders and Gallipoli.

12.15 – 12.55 “Irishwomen and the First World War: ‘a kind of historically hidden Ireland’

Fionnuala Walsh: Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar, Trinity College Dublin

The paper will give a broad overview of the impact of the First World War on women in Ireland focusing on the involvement of Irishwomen in the war effort, their wartime employment and the impact of the war on soldier’s wives. It will move from the national to the local, to look at the wartime experience of women in Kildare.

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 14.40 “The Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the First World War”

Tom Burke MBE: President, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association

Set against the major battles of the First World War on the Western Front, in Gallipoli and Salonica, this lecture will present a profile of some of the men who made up the two Regular and five Service Battalions of the RDF; who they were, where they came from and possible motivations for enlistment.

14.40 – 15.20 “Ireland and the Greater War, 1912-1923”

Professor John Horne: Professor of Modern European History, Trinity College Dublin

This talk will reflect on the place of the Irish experiences of the Great War, and the revolutionary decade that led to independence and partition, in the context of a Greater War that spanned 1912-1923 in Europe and the wider world.

15.20 – 15.30 Conclusion

For details: Download Brochure and form


The County Kildare Archaeological Society gratefully acknowledges the support of

Kildare County Council in the presentation of this seminar.

Please note that prior booking is essential as admittance will be by ticket only and places are limited. Tickets will be sent out by post. (€15 towards a light lunch and refreshments is kindly requested at the time of booking.)


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