The Emergency: Ireland in wartime, 27-28 June 2014

The Emergency: Ireland in




Conference to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the


Second World War


National University of Ireland, Galway


Moore Institute


Hardiman Research Building


27-28 June 2014




Friday 27 June 


09.45 Welcome   


10.00 – 11.30 Panel 1:   High Diplomacy                                                     

Paul McNamara (NUI, Galway)     

Sean Lester, Irish Diplomat in Peacetime and Wartime, 1934-46                                                    

Steven Murphy (University College Cork)

Irish Neutral Diplomacy in World War II

Barry Whelan (NUI, Maynooth)

Behind the green curtain: Spanish perceptions of neutral Ireland during the Second World War


11.30 – 12.00 Coffee Break


12.00 – 13.00 KEYNOTE

 Mervyn O’Driscoll (University College Cork)

 The Forgotten Dimension: Positive Neutrality and Irish Post-War Relief to Europe with particular reference to Germany                          


13.00 – 14.00 Lunch Break


14.00 – 15.15 Panels 2 & 3

Panel 2: Wartime shortages in an international context (Room G010)                                                                                        

Bryce Evans (Liverpool Hope University)

Farewell to Plato’s Cave

Peter Rigney (Trinity College Dublin)

The Wartime Irish railway system: problems and perspectives


Panel 3: Exiles in Ireland (Room G011)                                                                                          

Gisela Holfter (University of Limerick)

German-speaking refugees in Ireland, 1933-45

Neasa McGarrigle (Trinity College Dublin)

Academic Refugees in Emergency Ireland


15.15 – 15.30 Coffee Break


15.30 - 16.30 Keynote

Brian Girvin (Glasgow University)

De Valera’s Achievement and the Politics of Irish Neutrality 1939-49                                           

17.00 – 19.00 Film screening The Enigma of Frank Ryan

Followed by roundtable discussion with Desmond Bell and Fearghal McGarry


20.00 – 21.30 Conference Keynote – ROBERT FISK (venue, Radisson Hotel) 


Saturday 28 June


09.45 –11.00 Panel 4: A land of opportunity?

Jackie Uí Chionna (NUI, Galway)

The College President called us “my Americans,” everyone else called us “the Yanks”: The G.I. Bill and American medical students at University College Galway

Bozena Cierlick (University College Cork)

“I think we should do all in our to help, as neither the British nor the Americans are likely to do anything for these people” (Alfred O’Rahilly)

Deirdre Mulrooney (University College Dublin)

Emergency encounters of the cultural kind: bohemian refugees in Emergency Dublin, from the Ballets Jooss to Erina Brady’s Irish School of Dance Art


11.00 – 11.15 Coffee Break


11.15 – 12.45 Panels 5 & 6

Panel 5: Britain’s war in an Irish context (Room G010)

Pat McCarthy (Military History Society of Ireland)

Battle, Blitz, Blockade and Weather Forecast: the Luftwaffe and Neutral Ireland, 1940-1945

Steven O'Connor (Trinity College Dublin)

We are all Paddies: Irish identity in the British forces, 1939-1945

Joseph Quinn (Trinity College Dublin)

The Irish Experience of War: stories and testimonies of volunteers from Neutral Ireland who served in the British Armed Forces during the Second World War


Panel 6:  Employment options – Ireland and the United Kingdom (Room G011)                                                                                                          

Mary Muldowney (Trinity College Dublin)

The impact of class and gender on women’s paid work during the Second World War

 Jennifer Redmond (NUI, Maynooth)         

Wartime immigrants: Exploring the Irish diaspora in World War II Britain

Mary Hawkins (NUI, Galway)

‘Business as usual?’ Central Hospital Galway Nurses during the Second World War


12.45 – 13.45 Lunch Break


13.45 – 14.45 KEYNOTE

 T. Ryle Dwyer

 Irish Neutrality: the distortion of a convenient fiction                                                                                             


14.45 – 15.00 Coffee Break


15.00 – 16.30 Panels 7 & 8

Panel 7: Neutrality Discourses (Room G010)

Bernard Kelly (Edinburgh University)

Who are we neutral against? The Irish myth of the Second World War

Karen Devine (Dublin City University)

Debunking the ‘Unneutral Thesis’

Lili Zach (NUI, Galway)

Irish perceptions of small nation-states in the context of the Second World War


Panel 8: Activists and the news agenda (Room G011)                                                                                                                     

Leo Keohane (NUI, Galway)

CIVIC – Council for Investigation of Vatican Influence and Censorship: A Protestant anarchist’s perspective on the Catholic Church in 1941

Kevin McCarthy (University College Cork)

The G2 surveillance of Robert Briscoe, 1939-1945

James O’Donnell (NUI, Galway)

War News in Ireland: the effect of censorship and news supply restrictions on the coverage and comment of the Dunkirk evacuation and D-Day landings in Irish newspapers — a case study


16.30 – 16.45 Coffee Break


16.45 – 17.45 KEYNOTE

Michael Kennedy (Royal Irish Academy)

“Men that came in with the sea”: the discovery of war dead along the Irish coast, 1939-1945


17.45 –18.00 Concluding Remarks


The Conference Organisers are grateful to the following NUI Galway benefactors for their kind support:


Millennium Fund

Community Knowledge Initiative

School of Humanities Research Incentivisation Scheme

College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies

Department of History

Moore Institute


Thanks also to the NUI Galway student History Society, An Cumann Staire, and the Donegal County Museum for their generous assistance.