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Fighting Irish: The Irish Regiments in the First World War


Gavin Hughes

October 2015

Fighting Irish is a meticulous new history of all those who served with the Irish regiments during the First World War. This historical research, based on documentary evidence, poignant eyewitness accounts and testimonies, covers all aspects of the war, from campaign strategy to the soldier’s intimate war experiences.


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Fighting Irish is a meticulous and engaging account of the First World War from the perspective of the men of the Irish Regiments of the British Army, revealing the extent of the Irish military commitment to the Great War effort from 1914-1918. Startling and sympathetic matters, from campaign strategy to the soldiers’ intimate war experiences, are addressed with fascinating documentary evidence and poignant eye-witness accounts. Persisting humour and unexpected trials; mounting reputations and the mundane drudgery of routine military life – all is touched upon in the lives of these men, and undercut by the pervasive loss of life.

Whether fighting at Ypres, the Somme, Gallipoli, Kostorino or Nablus, the story of the Irish Regiments is compelling and evocative, with reasons for enlistment as varied as the men themselves. Though entrenched in warfare, many minds were set on the increasing unrest at home, swaying their interests and shaping the communications they left to posterity. Fighting Irish defines the diverse backgrounds of all those who served with the Irish regiments in these years, recounting their deeds through exacting historical research within a gripping and affecting narrative.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – From Ulster Crisis to Great War, 1912 – 1914
Chapter 2 – Ireland’s Regiments go to War
Chapter 3 – Mons to First Ypres, August 1914 – December 1914
Chapter 4 – Ireland’s Regiments at Stalemate—Western Front, 1915
Chapter 5 – The Gamble at Gallipoli, 1915
Chapter 6 – Emergency at Home—the Easter Rising, 1916
Chapter 7 – The Long Battle of the Somme, 1916
Chapter 8 – Messines, Third Ypres and Cambrai, 1917
Chapter 9 – Macedonia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Palestine, 1915 – 1918
Chapter 10 – The German Somme Offensive – ‘Kaiserslacht’, March 1918
Chapter 11 – The Last Days on the Western Front
Chapter 12 – The Cost and Legacy, 1914 – 1918

About the Author

Gavin Hughes is currently a Research Associate with the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Trinity College, Dublin and Coordinator for the Irish Conflict Archaeology Network (CMRS, TCD). His research interests mainly focus on British and Irish military history and archaeology.