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Difficult centenaries — 3 Comments

  1. The issue earlier this year, and quite frankly from last year when I was at a meeting here in Tipperary about the 1916 celebration, is that Official Ireland will try to manage it out of existence. And try form into one mold when we are dealing with apples and oranges. You see what people can’t forget is that the reason why many joined the rebels is what they were hearing from their brothers home from Irish Regiments in France and elsewhere. And what they continued once released here on the island.
    Think of it this way. The Irish regiments transferred almost to a man the the Free State. Yes some of the new officers were from the Rebels, but most were from the 500 acre farmer type who shot their neighbours out of trenches and ordered neighbours to be shot at dawn for the most trivial of infractions, and most were Catholic. So the traditions of the current army is more to that soldier they had at the Somme ceremony at Thiepval in July than the rebels.
    Interestingly, one of the main drivers in the period was the opening of the franchise in 1918. You see if you go back to the Great Reform Act you had one section of society giving out about ‘those people’ getting the vote. But with each successive reform more and more of what the first two sets would deem undesirable. You might have a CoI and a Catholic farmer with 700 acres who in 1832 mightn’t be the best of mates but sure as shootin their grandsons were closer in mind in 1918 about the new arrivals to the voter roll.

  2. It seems to suit certain agendas for accounts to remain unchallenged. I heard of Loyalists who wanted to hear nothing of the Catholics in the 36th (Ulster) Division because it would challenge their foundation narrative.

    I cannot understand why there has not been more focus on the huge disparity in the estimates of the losses in the anti-Treaty forces.

    I know a British army officer who describes Ballyseedy as a “war crime” – will it be acknowledged as such?

  3. I suspect it will be acknowledge right enough.

    OK here goes. We’re in an odd space, and have been for quite a while with historiography. These last, mmmm, 40ishy years we’ve had revisionism, or the utter fixation on document sources. But if you do that then by its nature will focus upon those who a, could write, b, structured the reports, c, made the decisions, leaving the rest of the population as a subject acted upon by the ‘writers’. So you have a judicial decision that’s eminently plausible, but operating a gigantic pretence of being ‘fair’. And this isn’t written about.
    On why that exact period isn’t written about on this island, well, I suspect a tacit decision was made to park it.

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