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The period 1914 to 1918 was the last time Ireland was involved as a combatant in war on an international scale. Though we cannot say that Ireland has been a country at peace, during the past hundred years it has not suffered from the fear of invasion, the loss of thousands of young lives and the hardship of full-scale war.
At the time of the outbreak of World War I, nationalist Ireland was eagerly awaiting the introduction of Home Rule, while unionists were preparing to use all means within their power to prevent it. When the war began, Irishmen were called on to join the fight against the German Empire, placing national politics to one side for the duration of the war, with the promise of Home Rule at the end of it. At local level, Dublin, a city suffering great poverty, rife with disease and almost uninhabitable slums, had these major civic issues pushed into the background by the outbreak of war. Dublin was also a city with a tradition of having a strong military presence, and during the war years Dubliners bore witness to thousands of soldiers passing through their streets to embark for England for training or to return to the Front. In terms of everyday life, the coming of war also resulted in food and fuel shortages and more restricted movement in terms of social life and entertainment. Read more »