Today’s Children, Tomorrow’s Hope”: Recuperative Holidays in Ireland and the UK for Children Impacted by the Second World War
After the destruction of the Second World War, individuals and communities throughout Europe organised recuperative holidays, in which groups of children were temporarily hosted abroad to restore their physical and psychological health. The length of these stays varied from weeks to years. One such scheme was Operation Shamrock, in which nearly five hundred children (mostly Germans) from mainland Europe were brought to Ireland. This talk will explore some recuperative holiday initiatives that were organised in Ireland and the UK for children from countries including Germany, France, and the Netherlands. It will touch on questions such as: who organised these stays and why, what challenges they faced, and how successful they were in achieving their aims.
This is intended as an historical examination of the whole question around the recuperative holidays. Who organised them? Why? The question of who was excluded and why is a very important part of that examination.
Lorraine McEvoy is a third year PhD student in Trinity College Dublin. Her research explores recuperative stays abroad for children in the aftermath of WWII, drawing primarily on case studies from Ireland, Britain, Switzerland, and Germany. She is an Early Career Researcher in the Trinity Long Room Hub and a member of the history team at the Museum of Childhood Ireland.
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