Today and tomorrow are the last to see a fascinating new body of work by Damian Shiels in Cobh’s Sirius Arts Centre. Titled Portraits: Women of Cork and the U.S. Navy 1917-1919, the exhibition looks at the social outcomes of America’s entry into the First World War. Their participation in the war saw thousands of US soldiers emerge into the communities around Cork. This influx of soldiers, and their subsequent socialising in the city, saw many Cork natives become ‘war brides’. While these relationships were generally greeted with celebration in America, on this side of the Atlantic hostilities arose, which then turned to violence. Ultimately the US Navy banned their soldiers from entering the city.
A century on from their entry into the First World War, Portraits: Women of Cork and the U.S. Navy 1917-1919 is an intimate look into an often overlook aspect of Irish social history – it closes Sunday, September 17th, with full details available online here.