THE tumultuous years from 1914 to 1921 will be the subject of the next Ormond Historical Society meeting, which will be held in the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh, on Monday, January 14, at 8pm.
The illustrated talk, Years of Crisis - Nenagh 1914-1921, will be given by Gerard Dooley, MA. Mr Dooley works in University College Dublin’s Applied Language Centre.
The talk will look at the sudden rise of the National Volunteers in Nenagh and their equally sudden collapse. The evolution of the organisation which arose from the ashes of the National Volunteers, to become the IRA. Issues of dissention, disunity and deception among the IRA will be analysed as a counterpoint to the more “textbook” narrative of flying columns and ambushes. The transformation of the RIC from a force languid for want of action and disenchanted for want of pay, to a dangerous hybrid of gendarmerie, civil police and demobilised Great War veterans shall also be looked at. Aside from the people who took up arms, either at home or abroad, the talk will look at those left behind, those who struggled to cope, those who faced the brunt of RIC reprisals, those who nearly perished due to crop failure and those afflicted with Spanish Flu. In particular, this talk will look at the often overlooked social problems faced by the ordinary poor, during the years of the Great War. The untold story of the winter of 1916-17 shall also be discussed. Gerard Dooley is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Limerick and University College Dublin. He has Bachelor’s degree in English and History, and a first class honours MA in Modern Irish History. To date, he has completed two expansive research works. The first, The Irish Volunteers and the IRA in Laois, Offaly and North Tipperary from 1917 to 1921, lay the foundations for his MA thesis.