Commemorating the ‘Spanish Flu’ of 1918-19

The global influenza pandemic of 1918-19 – the so-called ‘Spanish flu’ – killed as many as 50 million worldwide. The huge mobilisation and demobilisation of troops before and after the end of the First World War seems to have spread it across the globe, and, having been first recorded in Belfast in June 1918, the flu arrived in Ireland in successive waves from the summer of 1918 onwards. The latest estimates, by Ida Milne, suggest that perhaps as many as 800,000 people in Ireland were infected (one in five of the Irish population), and over 20,000 died. This makes the pandemic one of the greatest killers of the ‘Decade of Centenaries’, albeit one that is often overlooked.

The centenary of the pandemic in Ireland cannot be distilled into one single event, but it is being examined in 2018.  An overview of the global pandemic can be found in the International Encyclopedia of the First World War. An overview of its impact on Ireland by Guy Beiner, Patricia Marsh and Ida Milne can be found in this article from History Ireland (and the authors also participated in a History Ireland Hedge School on the pandemic, recorded earlier this year). RTÉ have provided this short ‘explainer’ video on the ‘Spanish flu’, while BBC Radio Four recently produced a documentary on the pandemic that incorporates an Irish element; listen back to it here.

The History Show on RTÉ Radio One recently hosted a discussion on the pandemic; listen back here.

Finally, the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life have developed an exhibition on the flu in their Mayo campus, with an associated national outreach programme; full details of both can be found here. 

 

2 November 2018: ‘1918 and the collapse of the Habsburg Empire: From multinational empire to multinational states, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2

On Thursday 18 October a new six-part public lecture series entitled  ‘1918 and the New Europe’ began at Trinity College Dublin. The lecture series  will hear from national and international experts who will re-examine the significance of 1918 as the beginning of a new European order. The series will focus on the collapsing empires and the states that were forged—territorially, culturally, and politically—in the peace treaties that followed. It will re-examine the significance of 1918 as the beginning of a new European order, from the perspective of the collapsing Empire and four successor states, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Hungary, which were forged—territorially, culturally, and politically—by the peace treaties that followed.

The second lecture in the series, on Friday 2 November, is entitled ‘1918 and the collapse of the Habsburg Empire: From multinational empire to multinational states’, and will be delivered by Pieter Judson, Professor of European History, European University Institute. At the end of 1918, as the Habsburg Empire collapsed and both brand new and existing states took over its territories, nationalists in Central Europe proclaimed the dawn of the era of the nation state. They hailed the nation state as the embodiment of a bright, democratic, and modern future, while castigating multinational empires as outdated and oppressive. The revolutions that the nationalists appropriated for their own, however, produced anger and resentment about unfulfilled promises among victors and defeated alike. And contrary to nationalists’ claims, 1918 heralded a new age of multinational empire in Central Europe, one as radical, brutal, and extreme as the age of total war that had produced it.

The lecture will take place in the Trinity Long Room Hub at 6.30pm. All welcome.

Learn more about ‘1918 and the new Europe’.

2 November 2018: History Ireland ‘Hedge School: ‘100 years of women in politics and political life’, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2

On Friday 2 November 2018 a History Ireland ‘Hedge School’ debate on ‘100 years of women in politics and political life’ will take place in Dublin Castle, Dublin 2. A hundred years ago women in Ireland (then part of the UK) got the vote. To mark a century of women’s subsequent involvement in politics and public life Dublin Castle is hosting a special exhibition in the Coach House. In conjunction, History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, will host a debate with Sineád McCoole (curator), Deirdre Mac Mathúna (History Teachers’Association of Ireland), Mary O’Rourke (former Minister for Education), and Joe Lee (New York University).

The Hedge School will take place at 2.30pm in the Bedford Hall, Dublin Castle. Admission free but booking essential. This Hedge School is supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Learn more about Vótáil100.

Cork events

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Dublin events

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Carlow events

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Armagh events

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Antrim events

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Events to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Armistice

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Explore our county by county listings of events to mark the 1918 Armistice.

 

3 November 2018: ‘Deeds not words? Assessing a century of change’, National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7

On Saturday 3 November 2018 the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7, will host a one-day conference entitled ‘Deeds not words? Assessing a century of change’This conference brings together a range of academics, historians and writers to explore changes and advancements in Irish society, particularly for women over the last 100 years since 1918. This was a year that saw significant social change in Ireland, including the end of World War I, the passing of the Representation of People Act and the 1918 elections. The conference poses the question, what has changed for society, since 1918, for better and for worse? Speakers include Senator Ivana Bacik, Elaine Callinan (Carlow College), Mary McAuliffe (UCD), and Ciara Meehan (Hertfordshire).

The conference is being organised in conjunction with the exhibition Votes for women: Suffrage and citizenship currently on display at the Houses of the Oireachtas, Leinster House, Dublin 2 until 14 December 2018, and which will go on display at the National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks in 2019.

Follow this link for the full programme and booking details.