The Irish at the Front

The Irish at the Front

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The Irish at the Front by Michael MacDonagh

Published:

1916

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The Irish at the Front

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This narrative of the more signal feats of the Irish Regiments in France, Flanders, and at the Dardanelles, is based on letters of regimental officers and men, interviews with wounded soldiers of the battalions, and those invalided home, and, also, in several cases, on the records compiled at the depôts.The war is the greatest armed struggle that the world has ever seen, and when we think of the heroism and resolution shown in it, the trials and the sufferings, the victories and the disasters, and then turn to the bald and trite official despatches, the dissimilitude of things, the contrast, is most abrupt and jarring. But so it is, and probably we must continue to rely upon the accounts given by the men in the fighting line for any real appreciation of the nature of the war.

Book Excerpt

to the valour and staunchness of their British and Dominion comrades. These gallant comrades, I know, will be the last to begrudge us the pious task of making some record of the Irishmen's work who have fought and died by their side, and of trying to add, as her sons would wish, to Ireland's honour through their deeds. The official record has not been copious, and Ireland may be pardoned the watchfulness of a mother's pride.

Let me turn from the soldiers themselves for a moment to look at the significance of the part they are playing before history. It is important for Ireland, and I am sure it is also important for the British Empire, and perhaps for America as well, to appreciate the part taken by the Irish troops in this war. The war, which in a night changed so many things, offered to Ireland a new international place, and her brave sons, not hesitating, acting upon a sure and noble instinct, have leaped forward to occupy it for her. After long struggles the Irish people had won back from England