Leitrim historians Padraig Griffin and Margaret Connolly, Aideen Connolly, Hugh Trayer and Susan Heffernan (not pictured)
One hundred years ago this Friday, the Treaty of Versailles was signed. An agreement intended to pave a path towards global peace it signalled an end to the devastation of WWI. Such was the horror that it was difficult to ascertain an exact number of casualties of the conflict.
The official number of Leitrim WWI casualties was recorded as 244, and the intervening period has shown that these records fell well short of actual casualty numbers. Decades of work by Leitrim historians Padraig Griffin, Margaret Connolly and John Logan and others including Quincy Dougan and Tom Burnell, have built a clear picture of Leitrim’s WWI losses. That record now stands at over 350 brave men and one woman of Leitrim who died as a consequence of WWI.
The Versailles Programme – a Peace IV Partnership programme by Leitrim County Council – has now consolidated their research into an official list of Leitrim’s WWI dead. A call for information as part of the programme has also brought to light further Leitrim WWI casualties, including Private John Dolan. Born in Killargue, he emigrated to New York, enlisted with the US Army and died in France in 1918.
The official list will be launched on the centenary of Versailles Treaty at The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon, where many of Leitrim’s brave volunteers enlisted for WW1 service, and will available thereafter on the Leitrim Library Local Studies database for all interested in discovering their local heritage. This is also the closing event for the highly successful Versailles Programme, which explores the social history of Leitrim during the WWI period. Other events taking place this month include the Threads of Change WWI exhibition at St George’s Heritage Centre June 19-28 and a 1919 Community Heritage Day at Manorhamilton Castle on June 29.
The launch of Leitrim’s list of WWI dead takes place at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon on Friday, June 28 at 7pm. Admission is free and all are welcome to this commemorative event.
The Remembering Leitrim War Dead project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).