Next Tuesday, Kilrush & District Historical Society will mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I with a concert in the Teach Ceoil in Kilrush featuring songs and poetry from the First World War (1914-1918), sung by mezzo soprano Edel O’Brien, accompanied by Michael Hennessy.
The Society is inviting the descendants of those Kilrush and west Clare men who fought in the War to take part in the event.
The Great War, as it was initially called, technically began on 28 July 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Ireland’s involvement began when the United Kingdom declared war on Germany a week later. Kilrush had a population of 3,666 at the outbreak of the First World War. The total number of Kilrush men who enlisted was 476, comprising 414 in the army, fifty-five in the Royal Navy and seven in the merchant navy. These figures represented over eleven per cent of the male population of the town.
Edel O’Brien is a native of Kilrush. At the age of nineteen, she won the Margaret Burke-Sheridan Cup at the Dublin Feis Ceoil. Having graduated with an Honours Masters Degree in Music and Performance from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she then won a scholarship to study singing at Trinity College of Music, London. There she gained Distinction in her Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Studies. She also won The Vocal Faculty Prize and the College Gold Medal.
On Tuesday, Edel will sing songs from the period of the First World War, including It’s a Long Way to Tipperary; Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag (And Smile, Smile, Smile); and Keep The Home Fires Burning.
The concert is strictly first come, first served and the building has a maximum capacity of 120 people. Admission is free for members and 5 euro for non-members. Doors open at 7.15p.m. and will be closed at 8p.m. sharp. Tickets cannot be booked in advance.