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Friday, January 24, 2020

Upcoming Lecture : Crisis and Long Term Effects of the Influenza Pandemic in Waterford and Ireland by Dr Ida Milne

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society 2019 – 2020 lecture season continues on Friday January 31st January 2020 with a lecture at 8 pm in St Patrick’s Gateway Centre, Waterford when Dr Ida Milne will deliver a talk titled “Crisis and long term effects – the 1918 – 1919 influenza pandemic in Waterford and Ireland”.

Dr Milne will take a global, national and regional perspective to examine the 1918-1919 pandemic and its political and social history, and look briefly at the figures.  South-east Ireland was quite the hot spot for flu in the second wave in October through December 1918, and to a lesser extent in the spring of 1919.

What this talk will focus on are the oral histories of the flu that Dr Milne collected during her research. Some oral histories were collected from survivors who caught it as small children and often didn’t realise until she spoke to them that what they had been through was this amazing disease that killed upwards of 50 million globally. When Ida started collecting oral histories about the flu she thought that she would find out about the illness, the treatments given to patients, doctors visiting, and other immediate experiences. What she found was much more fascinating, the flu had wider ramifications than just illness and death. Often if a parent died, it changed the entire economic status of families, they might also lose their home if it went with the parent’s job, or the single remaining parent might decide to emigrate. So the fallout was a lot more that it seemed, and often caused long term emotional crises too.

Dr Ida Milne is a lecturer in European history at Carlow College.  She is a social historian who specialises in using oral history to explore her research interests which include Irish Protestant identity, working lives and broad interests in the history of infectious disease. ‘Stacking the Coffins, Influenza War and Revolution in Ireland’, the book based on her doctoral research on the 1918 flu pandemic, was published in 2018. She is co-editor with Dr Ian d’Alton of the recently published book ‘Protestant and Irish – The Minority’s Search for Place in Independent Ireland’. A native of Wexford, Ida attended Waterford’s Newtown School in the 1970s.

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