On Saturday 1 February 2014 the National Museum of Ireland hosted a one day conference at the NMI Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin, entitled ‘Remembering World War One in Europe, 1914-2014’. Speakers at the conference included John Horne (Trinity College, Dublin), Judith Devlin (UCD), Edward Madigan (Royal Holloway, London), William Blair (National Museums Northern Ireland) and Lar Joye (National Museum of Ireland).
Prof. Horne opened the conference by discussing how a global war of unprecedented scale, imbued with deep historical significance and which led to the geo-political reorganisation of much of the world was interpreted in a diverse range of settings. The war was remembered at individual and collective level; from the perspective of the soldiers who had fought in it, to that of the states who had participated in it. The ‘Great War’ was seen as pivotal to national history in virtually all countries affected by it. A notable exception was the Soviet Union, which had emerged in the aftermath of the defeat of the Russia Empire. The manner in which the war was elided from the official culture of the Soviet Union was the subject of Dr. Devlin’s lecture. Dr Madigan returned to the theme of remembrance, and dealt with the manner in which the First World War has played a role in British life. He also discussed the commemorative programme being outlined by the UK government, which at state level will focus on the centenaries of six key events: the British entry into the war; the Gallipoli landings; the battles of Jutland, the Somme, and Ypres; and finally the armistice that concluded the war.
In the final session, William Blair and Lar Joye also provided details of forthcoming exhibitions to be hosted by National Museums Northern Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland, dealing with the Irish experience of the First World War.
For the conference programme, click here.
To read John Horne’s ‘Commemorating the centenary of the Great War and the division of Ireland: A European perspective (2011)’, click here.
To visit the website of the National Museum of Ireland, click here.
To visit the website of National Museums Northern Ireland, click here.