Aine Miller reads at the  Francis Ledwidge commemorative festival at Islandbridge in 1997. Ledwidge, a nationalist poet, was in Dublin during the very week of the Easter Rising, having recovered in England from serious injuries incurred while fighting in the British army in the first World War

The history of recent conflict in Ireland is usually traced to the early years of the twentieth century, and the key figure who determined the way (...)

Irish poet and soldier Francis Ledwidge (1891 - 1917). Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

I first heard the name of the Meath poet Francis Ledwidge in a Dublin classroom in 1966 – central to that year’s schoolday preoccupations was learning(...)

Desolation: part of Zonnebeke, painted in 1918 by William Orpen. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Ireland, poetry and the first World War is a story of contradictions, of contrasts and, a century later, of reconciliation. It should not pass us b(...)

Irish outlook: George Bernard Shaw. Photograph: Ullstein Bild via Getty

In June 1915 WB Yeats wrote to his American friend and patron John Quinn about the Great War then raging across Europe. It was, he said, “merely th(...)

Mainstays of modernism: Ezra Pound, the attorney John Quinn, Ford Maddox Ford and James Joyce in Pound’s Paris studio in 1923. Photograph from Joyce Images, by Bob Cato and Greg Vitiello with an introduction by Anthony Burgess (Norton, 1994)

In April 1940, as the second World War intensified, British novelist Virginia Woolf gave a lecture to the Workers’ Educational Association in Brigh(...)

Jennifer Johnston’s How Many Miles to Babylon? – Nomad Theatre stage version including  Fergal McElherron and Sam Peter Corry – represented important attempts to re-examine the first World War and its legacy. Photograph: Colm Henry

War is ambivalent; for the powers that decide to wage it, it is as ancient as man, even older than Homer and is caused by expansionist greed and do(...)

Soldiers of the 5th London Rifle Brigade with German Saxon regimental troops at Ploegsteert Wood during the Christmas Truce in 1914. Photograph:  Popperfoto/Getty Images

On the Western Front on December 24th 1914, thousands of soldiers from the British Expeditionary Forces, which included men from all parts of the i(...)

The first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1st, 1916. Photograph: The Art Archive / Imperial War Museum
Putting war into words
  • Books
  • April 10, 2014, 09:36

“You can always tell an old soldier by the inside of his holsters and cartridge boxes. The young ones carry pistols and cartridges; the old ones, g(...)

 Irish poet and soldier Francis Ledwidge (1891-1917).  Photograph:  Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The Great War and Irish poets

As January 1914 dawned, Europe had experienced 100 years of comparative peace since the Battle of Waterloo. During that time, technological developmen(...)

The Great War, by Peter Hart
  • Books
  • June 15, 2013, 01:00

Despite the lack of a subtitle, Peter Hart has written a military history, and a very good one it is. Brisk in style, and supported by vivid extracts (...)