One of the key aims of this site is the promotion of awareness in Ireland regarding the extent of Irish involvement in the American Civil War. Although well known in the United States, the defining influence this conflict had on hundreds of thousands of Irish in America remains virtually unknown in Ireland.
There is perhaps only one other conflict in history in which similar numbers of Irish were involved- World War One. Although recent years have seen a welcome increase in the study and remembrance of Irish participation in the Great War, the American Civil War has yet to achieve similar recognition. The principal reason for this can be attributed to one simple fact; the vast majority of those Irish soldiers and civilians caught up in the maelstrom of 1861-5 never returned to Ireland. Instead they went on to form part of what became the vibrant Irish-American community, and many of their stories did not make it back to the island of their birth.
The 150th anniversary of the American Civil War provides and opportunity for Ireland to recognise the effect this war had on Irish people. With that in mind a number of like-minded individuals who share an interest in Irish involvement in the Civil War have decided to see what might be achieved to this end over the course of the next four years. Robert Doyle, James Doherty, Ian Kenneally and I have started to work towards the realisation of two outcomes; the creation of a national memorial to the Irish soldiers and civilians, North and South, who were affected by the American Civil War, and the establishment of a Civil War Trail in Ireland highlighting locations with a connection to the conflict.
Thanks to the efforts of James Doherty, The Irish Times ran a piece about our aims in their newspaper on 11th November, which has already provoked a strong response. You can read Frank McNally’s article here. Although work is at an early stage it is hoped that momentum can be built for the project over time. An email has been established at firstname.lastname@example.org for anyone interested in helping achieve these goals, or indeed for anyone who has any advice. Hopefully at the very least the initiative will lead to a renewed understanding in Ireland of the experience of this ‘lost generation’ of Irish in mind-nineteenth century America.