The World Upturning: Elsie Henry’s Irish Wartime Diaries, 1913-1919

Author Clara Cullen
Condition New
Cover Type Softback

Elsie Henry’s diaries from 1913-1919 are a personal record of wartime life in Ireland and her own work at the Red Cross depot at the College of Science in Dublin. Writing from the confines of her Ranelagh home, she records her concerns for her brothers fighting with the British and Canadian forces in France and Mesopotamia, and of her father’s war work in London. The diaries, begun in the first year of her residence in Ireland and continued as a war record, show the information received daily by an ordinary citizen and include newspaper cuttings and letters. However, these diaries have a wider historical value. Through her Stopford relations Elsie had long-standing family connections to important Anglo-Irish families, but also to a more nationalist political group. In her Dublin home, Elsie acted as a frequent hostess to the political and artistic giants of her time, such as WB Yeats, Eoin McNeill, Bulmer Hobson, Roger Casement and AE, and she faithfully recorded their discussions in her diary. Although there is no evidence that Elsie had any sympathy for more extreme Irish nationalism, her diary entries provide a unique record of the intimate thoughts of many nationalists and sheds new light on their motives and subsequent roles in the making of an independent Ireland. The World Upturning is both a richly detailed narrative built upon a rare female perspective of this turbulent period in Irish history, and the personal work of a talented writer, containing a distinctly human account of years of intense turmoil that permanently changed the face of Ireland and the world.