Contributed by Dr Ciara Meehan, project Principal Investigator.
My tour of Irish centres and communities across Britain and Ireland will come to a close next week, in Waterford. Travelling to the southeast of Ireland for this workshop is important. In keeping with the approach of all the other workshops, the purpose has been to de-centre the focus of discussions away from major capitals. And so Waterford, not Dublin, was chosen for the Irish leg of the tour.
The men of Waterford City and County responded in large numbers to recruitment campaigns for the First World War. The minutes of Waterford County Council for November 1915 record,
That this meeting of the Waterford County Council having heard the statement made by Mr. Sparrow on behalf of the New Department of Recruiting for Ireland, hereby approves of its methods and endorses its policy, recognising as it does the gravity of the present International situation and the need for every available man to be made aware of his individual responsibilities to the County. The County Council also calls upon all employers in the County to facilitate voluntary recruiting, whenever possible, by guaranteeing to keep open the positions of their employees in the event of their joining the army.
Private John Condon was recruited in Waterford in October 1913 at just thirteen-years-old. Signing up using the identity of his older, deceased brother, he was believed to be eighteen. He was only fourteen when he died fighting with the Royal Irish Regiment in the second Battle of Ypres.
On 6 October 2013, a war memorial was unveiled in Dungarvan, commemorating 1,100 men (including John Condon) and women from Waterford who lost their lives in the War.
With such a strong connection between Waterford and the First World War, I’m hopeful that this will be an illuminating workshop.
As was the case with the other workshops, you are invited to share your stories of family involvement in the war or to discuss your thoughts on the act of remembering. All welcome!
When: Monday, 9 December 2019, 2.30pm
Where: Waterford Central Library, Lady Lane, Waterford City.
Questions? Email me: email@example.com