Skip to content Exit mobile menu

St Mary’s Students Explore Irish History in Belgium and France

Date article published
SHARE TwitterFacebookLinkedin
Students on the MA Irish Studies programme at St Mary’s University, Twickenham have recently had the chance to immerse themselves in the history of Ireland’s involvement in World War 1 with a trip to Belgium and France. Around 50,000 Irish soldiers were killed serving in the British Army, a number that included more than 50 students from St Mary’s, and the trip provided background history to the war and how it affected the course of Irish history. During the field trip, students took the opportunity to visit Irish landmarks such as poet Francis Ledwidge’s grave at Boezinge, the monument to Irish soldiers at Guillemont on the Somme where Irish Home Rule MP Tom Kettle was killed, as well as the grave of Major Willie Redmond Irish Home Rule MP and brother of Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond. The visit was complemented with tours around war museums, cemeteries, German trenches, the Irish Peace Park and the monuments to the 16th Irish Division and 36th Ulster Division at Wijtschate, where 5,500 soldiers were killed or wounded in the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Irish Studies Programme Director Dr Ivan Gibbons, who organised the trip, said, “This was a highly topical visit given the upsurge of interest in the contribution Irish soldiers made as we approach the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.”
SHARE TwitterFacebookLinkedin