Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ireland at War

Over 200,000 Irish fought in the war for the British Army and over 35,000 died.

The majority who served — even taking into account the 36th "Ulster" Division, which was formed from the exclusively protestant Ulster Defence Force — were Catholics.

Recruitment was lower by percentage in Ireland than in England, Scotland, or Wales, but this was due primarily to Ireland's higher proportion of population committed to agriculture.

Irish immigration to America was halted in 1915, otherwise some of the participants in the 1916 Easter Uprising could have been in America.

Due to the war, important improvements in nutrition and child care were implemented in Ireland.

Because of war restrictions, the output of Irish breweries and distilleries was only half in 1918 of what it was in 1916.

Irish Peace Tower, Messines, Flanders, Located Where Irish 16th (Catholic) Division Attacked  Alongside 36th Ulster (Protestant) Division, 7 June 1917


  1. In addition to the 15 Irish regiments of cavalry, yeomanry, guards and infantry, English regiments also recruited battalions from Irish men residing in English cities (the Tyneside Irish, the London Irish and the Liverpool Irish) and a couple of CEF battalions were recruited from Irish men living in Canada.

    1. The Irish Canadian Ranger became one of the Canadian Irish units. It was never fully at strength in Quebec so it was filled out by Irish recruits prior to going into France.

      It was sent overseas with a different unit name (number identification) and I believe that it was broken up and merged into other units in France.

      My maternal great grandfather and some of his sons were instrumental in forming the unit in Quebec. The base of the unit was recruited from the Montreal Polo Club.

  2. I was not familiar with this Irish monument. It's interesting to note that it is built generally in the style of Glendalough (and other) Irish round towers, which were build for storage, as lookouts, and as places of refuges, particularly from Vikings, generally as part of monastic communities. The peace tower picture looks old but was dedicated in 1998.

  3. Did the resistance to being ruled by the British have anything to do with lower enlistments by the Irish? Were the Irish any more against supporting Britain in the war than Canadians, Australians and Indians?