The Enemy Within

The Spanish Flu in Ireland 1918-19


12 September 2018 - End of April 2019

The Spanish Flu outbreak from 1918 to 1919 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. However, the epidemic remains an almost forgotten event in 20th-century Irish history.

The Enemy Within - The Spanish Flu in Ireland 1918-19 marks the centenary of the Spanish Flu outbreak and explores the folk medicines and rudimentary cures used by the public to combat the devastating illness. The exhibition forms part of the National Museum of Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries programme.

The Enemy Within is a three-stranded programme. As well as this temporary exhibition, there will be a nationwide lecture series and an online public participation programme.

“The Spanish Flu has been eclipsed in our collective memory by the political events of that decade and the loss of life during the Great War in particular.

It remains an historical period less widely discussed amongst public audiences despite claiming more lives worldwide than the Great War.

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 understand the Spanish Flu’s true significance and probe why this epidemic has been almost forgotten in our study and understanding of 20th-century Irish history.”

Noel Campbell, Curator