Great Power conferences and the challenges of nation-building

Charles O’Neill’s poem, set to the tune of “The Banks of the Mourlough Side” and titled, “The Foggy Dew,” speaks of England calling young men to come serve in World War I in order that “small nations might be free.” (Whether Luke Kelly or Paddy Reilly sang it better is more than I can judge.) The point in this is that Ireland was itself a small nation, one that while not under the…