Lisacul in 1916

In preparation for Heritage Week in August, we thought we’d better find out what (else) was going on in Ireland in 1916. Remember, if you have any ideas for celebrating Heritage Week, we’re having a planning meeting on Monday 27th June at 9:30 at the Community Centre.

Extract from the War Graves Register of Sainte Marie Cemetery, Le Havre

Extract from the War Graves Register of Sainte Marie Cemetery, Le Havre

As an important part of the British Empire, Ireland was at war, with thousands of our men and boys fighting in Flanders Fields and this affected many aspects of life.

A lot of produce was being shipped overseas to feed the troops so the food available at home was a little dull. Crubeens (pig’s trotters), bacon and cabbage, were mainstays, with oxtail stew or soup, and mutton not far behind. Potato cakes were as popular as ever, and bread, jam, milk and tea filled up the gaps. In the cities, and in Dublin in particular, condensed milk was widely used because of the difficulty in getting fresh milk. Tinned fruit, meat, sardines and pickles were also popular. Vegetables were very much au saison because only the well-off could afford to grow them out of season. Towards the end of 1916, it became illegal to have more than two courses when dining in a restaurant and there were fines for feeding wild pigeons and stray animals.

Fashion also reflected the war – with women going out to work opting for tailored suits – some with a military twist – and with far fewer underskirts than previously. The fashion palette changed too, becoming monochrome, partly because of the lack of dyes available and partly because the overall mood was darkening – the war that was supposed to be over by Christmas had been going on for a year and four months at the beginning of 1916 and there was still no end in sight.

John McCormack: He recorded "It's a long way to Tipperary" in 1914

John McCormack: He recorded “It’s a long way to Tipperary” in 1914

Despite this, people still went out and had fun, or stayed in and had fun. In 1916, you could buy records to play on the victrola, and you could also buy sheet music to play songs at home. The popular songs of 1916 show a wide range of styles: opera; ragtime; war-inspired; and American pop.

  • “O Sole Mio” by Enrico Caruso
  • “Santa Lucia” by Enrico Caruso
  • “Somewhere a Voice is Calling” by John McCormack
  • “Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On Saturday Night?” by Al Jolson
  • “I Love A Piano” by Billy Murray
  • “Pretty Baby” by Billy Murray
  • “I’m Gonna Make Hay While the Sun Shines in Virginia” by Marion Harris
  • “Keep the Home Fires Burning (‘Till the Boys Comes Home)” by James F. Harrison
  • “There’s A Long Long Trail A-Winding” by James F. Harrison
  • “Ireland Must Be Heaven, For My Mother Came From There” by Charles Harrison

At the cinema, DW Griffiths follow-up to Birth of a Nation, Intolerance was showing, alongside Chaplin comedies, Mary Pickford romances and Marguerite Clark and Pearl White melodramas.

Listening to the All Ireland

Listening to the All Ireland (1933)

And, of course, there was always sport. In soccer, the Irish League was won by Linfield, who also won the Irish Cup, beating Glentoran 1-1 to 1-0.

In Gaelic Games, Wexford took the Senior Football Championship by beating Mayo 3-4 to 1-2, while the Senior Hurling Championship went to Tipperary – the full score line reading: Tipperary (Boherlahan) 5-4 : 3-2 Kilkenny (Tullaroan).

1 comment

  1. Brilliant post – so broad and all-emcompassing! Thank you so much!

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