This article considers the application, in the specific context of Northern Ireland, of the phenomenon of postmemory as theorized by Marianne Hirsch and others. The article draws on interviews conducted in 2013 with a members of a Northern Irish family in which the father was present at Bloody Sunday, the paratrooper attack on protesters in Derry on January 30, 1972, or The author proposes that the Northern Irish experience departs from the usual accounts of postmemory as reported by Holocaust survivors and their families. A significant difference is that whereas Holocaust survivors privilege the narrativization of the traumatic experience as means of keeping memory alive, in Northern Ireland the sharing of traumatic narratives is seen as engendering hatred and putting subsequent generations at risk. Though writers on postmemory prioritize photographs that show the parent at a traumatic juncture as a medium of transgenerational memory transfer, the Northern Irish father appears in the single most famous photograph ever taken during the “Troubles”—yet the son’s understanding of the event was confused and superficial. The article argues that the transmission of historical narrative within a family is not an unconscious or organic process, but rather, must be deliberately undertaken by the earlier generation.


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pp. 80-97
Launched on MUSE
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