Symbol of unity from a service certificate

Project to bridge the gap surrounding Ireland and the First World War

With Ireland’s ‘Decade of Commemorations’ underway, historians at the University of Exeter and Goldsmiths, University of London have created a special website to gather information and knowledge about Ireland’s involvement in the First World War.

The website project will collate research and event information and act as a networking forum to allow academics, and members of the public and various organisations to introduce themselves to each other. 

Free-to-use resources not available elsewhere, will be hosted on the site. The first has been donated by the former mayor of Belfast, Cllr Tom Hartley, who has provided a detailed listing of war dead mentioned on family graves in Belfast City Cemetery. The site will also contain news, notification of events, and other resources invaluable to researchers engaged in this subject.

Dr Catriona Pennell, lecturer in History at the University of Exeter and Professor Richard Grayson, Head of the Department of History at Goldsmiths, who jointly created the new website see it as a project which bridges the gap between academic and public activity relating to this important area of history.

Professor Grayson said: “Catriona and I have both been involved in a number of events which have flagged the amount of work going on around centenary celebrations. During these discussions, we have become aware that there are many connections which could be made between academics and community groups, but which have not yet been made. We want to do something about this, and believe that a website which acts as an information hub could be useful for academics and community groups.”

Dr Pennell commented: “We feel strongly that our own academic research is enhanced by close networking with the many community level organisers who are also engaged with the subject of Ireland and its forthcoming centenaries. We hope that this website will continue to develop positive working relations and collaborations between academics and non-university led organisations who share the same passion: to enhance public understanding of Ireland’s experience of the First World War.”

The Decade of Commemorations marks not only Ireland’s involvement in the First World War, but also other events such as the Ulster Covenant, the Easter Rising and the War of Independence. The Decade therefore comprises a series of significant centenary anniversaries occurring between 1912 and 1922. Those who fought in the First World War, and subsequent conflicts, will be commemorated at Remembrance services this Sunday (11 November).

Date: 9 November 2012