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The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association and the separation women of Dublin in 1914

2019-01-20, Huddie, Paul

As the centenary of the First World War comes to an end and we enter the post-war and Irish Revolution commemoration and remembrance period, it remains appropriate to continue addressing topics from the wartime period. This will not only facilitate the analysis of subjects and areas that were not engaged with between 2014 and 2018, but also afford better understanding of the actions and events of the post-war year. One area that remains under-researched is that of the ‘separation women’ and their Separation Allowance on the home front. Although they numbered in their millions and were located throughout both Ireland and Britain, analysis of them, their lives and experiences and the organisations and people that helped them to survive the war, in the absence of their menfolk, remains remarkably scarce. Much work has been done to date on Irish women during the war generally, and not least of all by Fionnuala Walsh through her 2015 doctoral dissertation at TCD. This is added to the work done by Eileen Reilly, Caitriona Clear and Peter Martin, but despite this collective work, the lives and experiences of those ordinary women and, again, those that assisted them, remains little known or understood. This is no less true of Dublin. Thus, it is the purpose of this article to contribute to remedying this lack of historical engagement and general understanding.