Another view of the Easter Rising, 1916
Lecture at Annual General Meeting of the Irish Labour History Society, April 23rd, 2016
I would like to thank the Irish Labour History Society for inviting me to give another view of the Easter Rising on this the centenary of the day on which it was supposed to take place.
It has been borne in on me, as I am sure it has on you this year that commemoration is not history, nor is it about honouring all traditions equally, or unequally for that matter. It is about presenting history as we wish it to be; it is about self-identity and it is about seeking inspiration based on a reaffirmation of established identities, be they on the left, right or centre. Or it can be about rejecting a perceived past if it conflicts with what the dominant consensus within a commemorative group thinks it should be. This approach to commemoration covers both the general, for instance identifying the state with the Rising, and the particular, such as the Rotunda Hospital celebrating its commitment to delivering babies throughout Easter Week 1916. Hence the inevitable title of its exhibition, ‘Birth of A Nation’. Unlike history, commemoration does not need to be accurate but it must strike the right note. The current controversy over the Glasnevin ‘remembrance wall’ is a case in point. It should perhaps be rechristened the ‘wall of death’. On the other hand Joe Duffy’s ‘Children of the Rising’ has been a runaway success and well deserved. (more…)
Sunday 24th April:
10.50 Assemble at GPO
11.00 Guided walk commences from GPO
12.00 Guided walk arrives Island St
12.00 – 12.20 Rest break for guided walk participants
12.30 Assemble gates of Dr. Steeven’s Hospital opp. Heuston Station
12.40 Piper leads attendants to graveside for lilies ceremony
13.05 Graveside ceremony concludes.
13.20 Assemble at old Mendicity Institution gates, 9 Ushers Island
13.30 Civic Commemorative Naming Plaque ceremony
14.00 Refreshments at St Catherine’s Centre, Marrowbone lane