Meaning, memory and the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Cork University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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This book began life as part of a project funded by the Irish Higher Education Authority under the North-South Research Programme. Mary E. Daly at University College Dublin (UCD) and Margaret O’Callaghan at Queen’s University, Belfast were the project leaders and...
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In March 1966 the taoiseach, Seán Lemass, received a letter from an elderly patient in a Dublin nursing home which implored him to withdraw all preparations for the commemoration of the Easter Rising before it was too late...
1. The Official Commemoration
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The blowing up of Nelson’s Pillar in March 1966 happened just in time for the golden jubilee of the Easter Rising. The Birmingham Post reported that the shattered stump served as ‘a convenient and symbolic vantage point’ for Irish television cameras during the opening parade...
2. Alternatives to the Official Commemoration
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Writing in the Irish Socialist in June 1966, Michael O’Riordan applauded those who had offered critical readings of Irish society during the jubilee of the Easter Rising. He welcomed them as an important antidote to the ‘adman’s clichés of Lemass and Co., who sound more and more as if...
3. ‘The Other Place ’: Commemoration in Northern Ireland
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In September 1966, assessing his achievements in office, the prime minister of Northern Ireland, Terence O’Neill, expressed his belief that Ulster was ‘with it’ and forging ahead towards the 1970s.1 The language of modernisation, however awkward, was present north of the border as...
4. Calling Up the Dead
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Ferdia MacAnna, writing of his part in the pageant at Croke Park, scripted and directed by his father Tomás, recalled the issue of payment for boys who had minor roles: ‘we made representations to the management . . . At one stage there was talk of a strike: there would be no new...
5. Where Nelson’s Pillar was Not
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When commissioned to design the central sculpture for the Garden of Remembrance, Oisín Kelly was concerned about the ‘general difficulty of expressing the heroic in our time’. He intended in his design to create a new nationalist iconography. ‘There is no tradition on which to build,’ he...
6. From History into Art
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Writing of Constance Markievicz in the Daily Express Donald Seaman described her as tailor-made for Hollywood films: What a cracker! She went to war in a gorgeous, high-necked, tight-fitting, bottle green uniform made to her own design. Over it she...
7. ‘What to Do with their Lovely Past? ’Promoting the Commemoration Abroad
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‘They dream their lives away casually here,’ Jimmy Breslin wrote of Ireland in the New York Herald Tribune in 1966, ‘but at the same time the dreaming is what makes them. Dreaming of sex comes out far better than sex.’ The wise man might riddle what dream had come true fifty years...
EPILOGUE: Towards 2016
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Writing in Irish Spotlight in May 1966, Seán Lemass noted that ‘Now indeed is the time to seek answers to the question: “What sort of a nation do we wish to be in fifty years hence?”’ and argued...
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Notes and References
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Publication Year: 2012