Read the latest ‘Irish Times’ centenary supplement on the battle of the Somme
On Thursday 19 May The Irish Times published the latest in its ongoing series of centenary supplements: The Somme. 2016 marks the centenary not just of the Easter Rising, but of the battles of the Somme and Verdun. As Patrick Smyth puts it in his introduction, ‘the 141-day battle of the Somme would claim some 1,000,000 casualties, a new kind of battle, in a new kind of war. A battle whose memory would become an intrinsic, vital part of the national stories of so many countries, Ireland included, not only for its sheer scale and its industrial-like slaughter, the mud and machine guns, but also for what its fighting said about the nature of the societies at war’. There were perhaps as many as 7,000 Irish casualties at the Somme, and ‘this supplement, the 10th in the Irish Times “Century” series for the decade of commemoration, roots the Somme firmly in our history and experience – not a foreign war fought by foreign armies – an experience still buried in the collective, often still suppressed, memories of most Irish families. But it also roots our history very much in the mainstream of European history’. For those who were unable to pick up a copy, the Irish Times supplement on The Somme can be read online here.