Irish Nurses and the Great War 1914-1918


Dr Fionnuala Walsh (University College Dublin)


Associate Professor Catherine Cox (University College Dublin)


‘You will feel that that you are being of some use’: Irish nurses and the Great War 1914-1918


UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland Seminar Series, 19 April 2018


The First World War resulted in the mobilisation of thousands of Irish women on the home front in a variety of roles. As in other combatant countries the nursing profession was profoundly affected by the war. This paper examines the contribution of Irish voluntary and professional nurses to the war effort, both in Ireland and overseas. It explores motivations for joining the war effort, war experiences and the impact of the war on the nursing profession in Ireland.

Fionnuala Walsh

Dr Fionnuala Walsh completed her PhD at Trinity College Dublin in 2015, under the supervision of Professor David Fitzpatrick. Her thesis examined the impact of the Great War on women in Ireland, 1914-1919. It was funded by the Irish Research Council. From 2015-2016 she held the research studentship in the National Library of Ireland where I catalogued the papers of Field Marshall Hugh Gough. In 2016 she returned to Trinity College Dublin to take up a twelve month Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship with the primary purpose of producing publications from my PhD thesis. In September 2017 she took up a teaching fellowship in University College Dublin where she currently lecture in medical history and social history in the School of History. Her publications include ‘Every human life is of national importance: The impact of the First World War on attitudes to maternal and infant health’, in David Durnin and Ian Miller (eds). Medicine, health and Irish experiences of conflict 1914-1945 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017) and ‘We work with shells all day and night: Irish female munitions workers during the First World War’. Saothar, 42 (2017), 19-30.



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