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Pain of Irish Civil War recalled during fascinating lecture by Dr Diarmuid Ferriter

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At the lecture on the Irish Civil War by Diarmaid Ferriter in Wexford Library on Thursday evening were Hazel Percival, Diarmaid Ferriter, Jarlath Glynn and Eileen Morrissey

At the lecture on the Irish Civil War by Diarmaid Ferriter in Wexford Library on Thursday evening were Hazel Percival, Diarmaid Ferriter, Jarlath Glynn and Eileen Morrissey

At the lecture on the Irish Civil War by Diarmaid Ferriter in Wexford Library on Thursday evening were Hazel Percival, Diarmaid Ferriter, Jarlath Glynn and Eileen Morrissey

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Attendees were reminded of the “great emotional pain” suffered by all those involved in the Irish Civil War during a talk by Dr Diarmaid Ferriter at Wexford County Library last week. The lecture was largely based on Dr Ferriter’s book Between Two Hells: The Irish Civil War and saw him propose we assess this period through the perspectives of the people who were there in order to understand the differing views held in the run-up to the war itself.

During his lecture, Dr Ferriter described how 40,000 Free State soldiers opposed some 10,000 Republicans - many of them former friends and comrades - and said it was important we remember the great emotional pain involved at every level of such a bitter disagreement. A professor in Modern Irish History at UCD, Dr Ferriter focused on the how and the why of the war rather than the “confused military conflict” which followed and, in an interesting aside, noted the similarities between the modern-day civil wars in Hungary, Estonia, and other countries in Europe at this time as smaller nations tried to secure their positions in post-war Europe.

“It was very much an exploration of the thinking and feelings in the hearts and minds of the women and men involved, and also treated of the positions of the Church, the GAA and Labour Party as events unfolded,” said Executive Librarian Jarlath Glynn. “It was comprehensive and thought-provoking and called for a compassionate view of the dilemma posed between equally sincere idealogues and realists.”

The lecture was followed by a host of questions which were handled with great skill and included several well-made comments by Hazel Percival of the library staff. 

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