The British imperial enterprise from the 18th century to the 20th, and particularly the frenzied rush to control African territories in the late 19th, afforded opportunities for employment and profit to many Irishmen. During that long span of imperial ambition, the British Army drew large numbers of recruits, as well as separately standing regiments, from countries other than England, Scotland and Ireland chief among them. In Joyce's Dublin, stories circulate of men who have joined the British armed forces, and also of unscrupulous individuals who have made obscene profits off the war machine.

JH 2011

Areas of the African continent controlled by European colonial powers in 1914. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Taking of Kumasi in the Second Anglo-Ashanti War, 1874. Source: Illustrated London News.

1899 photograph of Boer citizen-soldiers in a trench at Mafeking, held in the Imperial War Museum, London. Source: Wikimedia Commons.