Spanish Influenza pandemic, 1918-19 Leinster, 1918-1919 Twentieth-century Irish History
Trinity College Dublin
The 'Spanish' Influenza pandemic killed 40 to 100 million people during 1918 and 1919, and probably infected about one fifth of the world's population. It disrupted society and economies, debilitated all the armed forces involved in WWI, forced international health authorities to set up influenza monitoring systems and left a lasting legacy of health problem for survivors. On the island of Ireland, the virus killed a conservative 20,051 people, and infected perhaps 800,000 people. Its introduction and dispersal was facilitated by the return of soldiers from the area of the war. But it has been generally ignored by Irish historiography, as historians have been more concerned with political and military issues. This research project looks at what happened in Dublin and the rest of Leinster during the pandemic. Strands include how influenza exacerbated some of the political issues of the day, including tensions over the treatment of political prisoners and Sinn Féin members 'on the run'. It examines the extent to which the Spanish flu disrupted the economy and society, and looks at how hospitals, health authorities and families struggled to treat the ill, curtail the spread of disease and bury the dead.
Exhibited at the second Glucksman Memorial Symposium on June 13th 2007
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