Athlone library to host historical reference event

A special talk exploring the devastating impact of the spanish flu outbreak in County Westmeath 100 years ago will take place on Tuesday September 25, at 7pm, in the Aidan Heavey public library in Athlone.

From 1918 to 1919, the Spanish Flu claimed 23,000 lives and infected some 800,000 people in Ireland over a 12 month period. No group, location or aspect of life was spared. Despite this devastating loss of life and the resulting chaos, the spanish flu in Ireland remained an under researched topic until the 21st century. Exciting work by scholars in recent years has managed to recover the story before it is too late. That work continues.

Now, to mark the centenary of this major event, the National Museum of Ireland has developed a special programme of remembrance and research, entitled ‘The Enemy Within – The Spanish Flu in Ireland 1918-19’.

The programme includes a temporary exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland - County Life in Co. Mayo, an online public participation programme, and a nationwide lecture series charting the local impact of the Spanish Flu across 15 counties.

On Tuesday 25 September, Mr. Noel Campbell, curator with the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, will examine the impact of the spanish flu in County Westmeath through stories of personal loss and the public service breakdown forced by the disease.

Speaking prior to the talk next week, Mr. Campbell said, “the spanish flu remained an under researched topic until the 21st century. Exciting work by scholars in recent years has managed to recover the story before it is too late and that work continues.

“The National Museum of Ireland has developed a programme of remembrance and research which will be informative, engaging and also challenging as we attempt to add to our understand the spanish flu.”

For bookings or talk details, visit http://www.westmeathcoco.ie/en/ourservices/library/findyourlibrary/athlonelibrary.

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