The Enemy Within: exhibition and public programme

National Museum of Ireland

One hundred years ago, the influenza epidemic that became known as the Spanish Flu claimed 23,000 lives in Ireland and infected 800,000 more people across the country in just over 12 months.

No group, location or aspect of life in Ireland was spared from this devastating virus. Secondary infections such as pneumonia added to the death toll and misery.

The Spanish Flu has been eclipsed in the collective memory by the momentous military and political events of the time and remains an understudied event in Irish history. Now, through an engaging public programme, the National Museum of Ireland aims to research and remember the Spanish Flu during the outbreak’s centenary.

Our Spanish Flu programme contains three strands:

  • A temporary exhibition detailing the folk medicines and rudimentary cures used to combat the Spanish Flu will be on display on Level A in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Castlebar, Co. Mayo from 11 September 2018 to spring 2019.
  • An illustrated lecture series detailing the local impact of the Spanish Flu will tour the country from September 2018 to June 2019. Visit for a full listing of public lectures and exhibition related events.
  • The National Museum of Ireland would also like to invite you to participate in our research by submitting your family and local stories of the Spanish Flu. These submissions will add to our understanding of the epidemic and will be linked to an online interactive map of Ireland on the website, which will allow visitors to view stories from their chosen area.

Contribute your Spanish Flu story here


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