Over Here: Researching U.S. Military in Ireland during World War One

Although the main focus of this site is (and will remain) the Irish experience of the American Civil War, I thought readers may also be interested in some work I am conducting on a later aspect of the U.S. military, exploring the impact on Ireland of the thousands of Americans who were stationed here during World War One. The work is part of a project I have established entitled the U.S. in Ireland Centenary Project, an undertaking of the Midleton Archaeology & Heritage Project, which I run as part of my role in Rubicon Heritage. In my spare time over recent months I have been carrying out various elements of research into the American presence, which was particularly strong around Cork Harbour close to where I live. In the coming months and years new elements of this work will be available on the site, but the first elements are already live.

My initial focus has been on the social impact of the American presence, and so I spent a considerable length of time trawling through U.S. passport applications to identify Irish women who married American servicemen during the conflict, a decision which fundamentally changed the course of their lives. In addition to providing biographical information, these applications also offer us another rare insight- photographs of the women themselves. You can view their stories here:

100 of Ireland’s World War One American Women in Pictures: Part 1- The Database

Some of the passport photos of Irish women who married U.S. servicemen during World War One (Damian Shiels/NARA)

Some of the passport photos of Irish women who married U.S. servicemen during World War One (Damian Shiels/NARA)

As regular readers will be aware, I am a big fan of visualising data. One platform I have used on the site before is Palladio (to map American military pensioners in Ireland, see here). I once again made use of this innovative tool to map both where these Irish women were from, and where they intended to travel to in the United States. You can see the results of that here:

Visualising the Journeys of Irish Women who Married U.S. Navymen in World War One

The intended destinations of the Irish women relative to their place of birth in Ireland- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

The intended destinations of the Irish women relative to their place of birth in Ireland- Click image to enlarge (Damian Shiels/Palladio)

Many of the buildings and sites used by American forces in Ireland still survive, revealing something of the impact the naval services had on the landscape. In the first of a number of videos to explore such remains, the example below examines the U.S. Naval Air Station at Aghada, on Cork Harbour:

The next of the World War One posts is due to look at the baseball games that American sailors participated in during their time in Ireland, to the fascination of local audiences. If you are interested in keeping up with these posts, do check out the dedicated project page on the Midleton Archaeology & Heritage blog from time to time– you can also subscribe to the YouTube here.

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Categories: Research, Resources

Author:Damian Shiels

I am an archaeologist based in Ireland, specialising in conflict archaeology.

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4 Comments on “Over Here: Researching U.S. Military in Ireland during World War One”

  1. May 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    This is the third time I’ve tried to comment, so will try once more Thanks for posting about Johanna (Twomey) Dealy, wife of my 2nd cousin twice removed Richard Edgar Dealy. They lived with my great great grandmother, Hannah (Dealy) OSullivan at 180 Chelsea St in Charlestown. She was Richard’s great aunt. I have more information about Richard and Johanna, please feel free to contact me

    • May 29, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

      Hi, Thanks for the comment! I would love to hear more about them and their backstory- did she ever visit Ireland again do you know?

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

      • May 29, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

        Yes, she actually applied for a passport in November of 1923 and the picture attached includes her two daughters. I found the passport when I was looking for one for Hannah (Dealy) O’Sullivan. I was trying some alternate spellings and found Johanna at the same address. She was planning to leave on the Laconia, December 8, 1923 and she returned from Ireland in February 1925. There is a picture of here and the 2 girls on the passport application.

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