Last night rté, Ireland’s national television station, broadcast the first of three shows dedicated to the tensions and histories of the men and women who gave their lives in what would become known as the First World War.
The Nationwide programme showcased the three Irish Divisions which fought with the Allies during the conflict on the Western Front and in the Dardanelles Campaign also. The men from the 36th Ulster Division were commemorated along with those from the Royal Munster Fusiliers, the Connaught Rangers and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The Connaught Rangers, or The Devil’s Own as they were known, famously refused to follow orders in a mutiny over the aggression shown by the British government in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War. The spirit of the Munsters was expertly captured in the now famous painting by Fortunino Matania of the General Absolution at on the Rude du Bois, by Father Francis Gleeson. The Dublin Fusiliers took such heavy casualties with the Munsters during the landings at V Beach, Cape Hellas, that they had to form a composite battalion nicknamed the Dubsters.
The presenter, Mary Kenny, and the researchers for the programme did a really marvelous job and one hopes that future presentations by rté and others will live up to this high standard! The show is available to watch on the rté player for the next 28 days and is fantastic viewing!