My name is Damian Shiels and I am a professional archaeologist who specialises in ‘conflict archaeology’, particularly where it relates to Ireland. I currently work with a commercial archaeology company, Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd, but have also spent time as one of the curatorial staff at the National Museum of Ireland where I worked with the military collections and in the preparation of the Soldiers and Chiefs military history exhibition. I am not a historian, although I have spent much of my career around historical documents and interpreting them from an archaeological and museum standpoint.
I have had a long standing interest in the Irish experience of conflict regardless of period or location, and the American Civil War is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating topics in this sphere. The sheer scale of the Irish involvement in the conflict and its affects not only on the soldiers at the front but the Irish civilians at home have captivated my attention. Although the Irish experience of the Civil War is a relatively popular topic in the United States, there remains little understanding in Ireland of either the event itself or how it impacted on the Irish in America or indeed the Irish in Ireland.
This blog has been set-up to fulfill a number of aims. I hope to tell the stories of Irish men and women caught up in the Civil War in an engaging and informative manner, along the way providing information on different people, units and places. It is also intended that resources for those interested in the Irish experience will be built up over time, to act as an aid for those who wish to find out more (check out the ‘Resources’ tab at the top right of the site to see what is currently available). Finally I hope the site makes some small contribution to raising awareness in Ireland of the Irish experience of the American Civil War, particularly in light of the 150th anniversary.
If you would like to contact me please email me at: