National Museum of Ireland exhibition ‘War in the Mud: The Irish soldier in Belgium in the summer of 1917’

6 June 2017 | Pamela Linden

The National Museum of Ireland have launched their new exhibition ‘War in the Mud: The Irish soldier in the summer of 1917’, featuring a selection of artefacts which are on display for the first time.

Pictured – Motorcycle, known as The “Trusty” Triumph, due to its great reliability under difficult conditions. This machine is a Triumph Model H, manufactured in 1918. By kind permission of National Museum of Ireland.

The exhibits include the uniform of Father William Doyle, who volunteered in Novemebr 1915 and proved very popular with the Irish soldiers while experiencing the horrors of the Battle of the Somme, and later at Messines and Passchendaele where he died on 16th August.

Pictured – Troopers from the Presidents Escort – Trooper Conor Mc Carthy, Trooper Stephen Costello, Trooper Alex Lewis

Also on display is a Triumph H motorbike, one of 30,000 built by the end of the war. The British Government needed effective communications with front-line troops and to this end; they replaced messengers on horses with despatch riders on motorcycles. At the start of the war in August 1914, the War Department called for motorcyclists to volunteer, with their machines, for despatch work. The response was huge.

The model featured above is a Triumph Model H, manufactured in 1918. It was imported into Ireland in 1918 by Joe Carville, the proprietor of the Erne Motorcycle Company in Baggot Street, Dublin. The Erne, as it was known, was the importer, assembler, and distributor of Triumph motorcycles in Ireland up until the late 1950s. This motorcycle was in his ownership until it was first registered by his foreman, Tommy Maguire. In the eighties, it was bought from Tommy’s widow by another well-known motorcyclist and long-time member of the IVVMCC, Mr Harry Lindsay. It remained in his collection for more than 30 years, and is now owned by the current Chairman of the IVVMCC. The motorbike is on loan from Irish Veteran and Vintage Motorcycle Club.

The exhibition can be viewed for free within the Decade of Centenaries gallery, 2nd floor, the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7.

For more information and opening times visit the National Museum of Ireland’s website.