| 21.6°C Dublin

In memory of my dad ... and all his comrades

Close

President Michael D Higgins at the unveiling of the Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery

President Michael D Higgins at the unveiling of the Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery

President Michael D Higgins at the unveiling of the Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery

A figure is inscribed on the National War Memorial in Islandbridge. It is 49,435 and it's the number of Irish dead from the First World War.

This week marked the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of that awful conflict.

By the time it concluded four years later the war would have claimed the lives of 10 million solders. Millions of others were injured or displaced.

It was the greatest destruction and loss of life that the world had ever known - war and slaughter on an industrial scale.

Last Monday saw memorial services all over the world, including a mass in honour of the Irish war dead at the Pro Cathedral in Dublin.

President Michael D Higgins, with 50 more heads of State, attended commemoration ceremonies in Liege.

A week earlier the President honoured Irish WW1 solders in a ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery.

poignant

The centenary is a poignant one for me. Last Monday I remembered my own father, who was one of 200,000 Irishmen who enlisted and fought for "the freedom of small nations".

This idealism motivated my father to enlist as a boy soldier, like many others did, and fight from 1916 to 1918.

He was wounded and gassed at Ypres. Mercifully he survived. He was one of the lucky ones who made it home.

It is only right and proper that this generation remembered him and his fellow soldiers this week.


Privacy