Profs and Pints Baltimore presents: “Ireland’s Fight for Freedom,” with Kevin Matthews, assistant professor of European history at George Mason University and former London correspondent for Vatican Radio reporting on British and Irish news.
After centuries of struggle, Irish men and women won their freedom from Great Britain after waging a war that set the pattern for all other independence struggles of the 20th century. But there was a price — the partition of their country, a split setting the stage for the Northern Ireland “Troubles” that didn’t end until 1998.
Gain a deeper understanding of Ireland and its history with Professor Kevin Matthews, a historian and frequent Smithsonian Associates speaker who had served as a journalist covering the last stages of the Troubles in Ireland in the early and mid 1990s.
He’ll discuss in depth how the Irish won independence in a two-year war between 1919 and 1921, covering topics as the role women played in the conflict, the life and tactics of the revolutionary leader Michael Collins, and the Irish development of “urban guerilla warfare” using small, highly mobile armed units called “flying columns.”
Most important, this talk will examine how the conflict between Irish nationalists and Irish unionists led to Ireland’s division and later conflict. From the Easter Rising to the Good Friday Agreement, from Bloody Sunday to Brexit, this conflict has never quite gone away.
As the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats once wrote:
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
Professor Matthews will explore how the Irish fought to a standstill what was then the mightiest empire in the world and how, more than he could have known, Yeats’ prediction still rings true today. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Doors open at 5. Talk begins at 6:30.)
Image: Members of the Irish Republican Army’s West Connemara Flying Column in 1921.