When the First World War broke out, John Redmond urged his supporters to sign up for the British Army – and many listened, if not to Redmond, then to Lord Kitchener, who was born in Kerry. Ulster Unionists saw it as an opportunity to showcase their loyalty to the Empire. The Nationalist community was divided, with Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond encouraging Irishmen to join up and fight for Home Rule, while others saw “England’s difficulty as Ireland’s opportunity.” Nonetheless, over 200,000 Irishmen joined up.
The Heuston family, who lived in the house which now houses our museum, had twin sons who fought in the War. One of them was among the 30,000 Irishmen killed in the war.