The Great War
The Great War of 1914 – 1918 touched every country in the world either directly or indirectly. As a British colony men were encouraged to sign up to fight for the King however, most signed up to just earn a wage. Of those that went to trenches more than 35,000 Irish men never returned. In 1918, with the Allies desperately short of men, Westminster tried to enforce conscription in Ireland (they didn’t succeed) which had the effect of further strengthening support for a separation from Britain.
Many Irish signed up to fight with Irish Regiments such as the Munster Fusiliers, The Irish Guards, Connaught Rangers, Dublin Fusiliers etc but many also fought with British Regiments so it is often difficult to determine how many men ultimately fought in the conflict.
Though not directly involved, Ireland certainly play its part and suffered its share of pain during one of the greatest scars on 20th century Europe.