As the First World War was drawing to a close and the prospect of peace began to materialise, a deadly influenza strain, commonly known as the Spanish Flu, surfaced. Between 50 and 100 million people died, a higher death toll than that of WWI. This event aims to highlight the largely forgotten history of this global pandemic with particular focus on how the disease affected people in Ireland.
Keynote speaker, internationally renowned historian, Dr. Guy Beiner will discuss the transnational history of forgetting and remembering of the Great Flu and how this catastrophic event has been largely overshadowed by the end of the Great War.
Other speakers include;
- David Killingray, Emeritus Professor of Modern History, who will be looking at the debates on the origins, course and consequences of the virus throughout the world.
- Dr. Patricia Marsh, Curator at Public Records Office NI, will discuss the impact of influenza in Ulster towns such as Belfast, Lurgan, Cookstown and Newry. By exploring the medical, local authority and charitable response to the disease at a regional level she will examine how the lack of a cohesive medical and welfare response to influenza at central government level impacted on the local response to the pandemic.
- Dr. Ida Milne, lecturer in European History, Carlow College, will focus on the stories behind the statistics and the long term effects of Spanish flu on Irish families through sufferer narratives. This year, her book Stacking the Coffins, influenza war and revolution in Ireland, 1918-1919, was published by Manchester University Press.
This event is hosted in partnership with Living Legacies.