Wednesday 3 October 2012

A mother's war diary launched online

The diary entries of a Dublin mother whose soldier son was missing in action have been transcribed and made available online. In 132 entries, Mary Martin, a Roman Catholic widow and mother of 12 from Monkstown, south Dublin, tells the tale of her life, and that of her family and community, from January 1916, when she learned that 20-year-old Charlie was missing.

In the vain hope that he might have been taken prisoner, she thought that her diary would help bring him up to date with life and events in his home neighbourhood when he eventually returned.

Sadly, that was not to be. The diary ended on 25 May 1916, just before she learned that he had died on the Salonika Front in the Balkans the previous December.

Postgraduate students from Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork (UCC) transcribed the diary, which is available free here along with biographical details of the family, photos and historical context. The website was launched yesterday by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.