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Commemoration Heather Laird Commemoration Heather laird Síreacht Longings for another Ireland T his book, written during Ireland’s decade of centenaries, draws on the aims of the Síreacht series to re-imagine commemoration. A commemoration process that is shaped by a desire to re-invigorate the social imagination and encourage speculation on alternatives to current orthodoxies considers not only what happened in the past, but what else might conceivably have happened. By acknowledging the existence of historical alternatives at a given moment, we can access that moment’s contingencies. These unrealised yet fully realisable past futures are especially numerous during periods of potent possibility; points in time when the future seems particularly open to being shaped by those living in the present. Commemoration proposes ways that we can both make the roads untaken in history visible and ‘remember’ them. It links the untaken roads of the past to side-branching roads in the present: real possible alternatives to dominant ways of thinking and being, outlining commemorative practices that could connect these two sets of roads. The book – while referring to history, literature, television drama and documentary, economics, politics, law and art – is grounded in concepts and practices of land and property occupancy and usage. That said, the ideas that it explores are relevant to the broader set of struggles concerning collective welfare that impel the Síreacht series. In keeping with the series’ utopian-inflected subtitle, ‘Longings for Another Ireland’, the book proposes that a commemoration process which recognises that the past could have been other than it was and that it could have given rise to other possible futures can assist us in the difficult but necessary process of imagining our future as both different too and better than the here and now. Heather Laird is a lecturer in the School of English, University College Cork. She is a postcolonial scholar whose research interests include theories and practices of resistance, critical/radical historical frameworks, and Irish culture since the early nineteenth century. She is the author of Subversive Law in Ireland, 1879–1920 (2005) and the editor of Daniel Corkery’s Cultural Criticism: Selected Writings (2012). 9 781782 052562 ISBN 978-1-78205-256-2 Síreacht Síreacht Síreacht: Longings for Another Ireland is a series of short, topical and provocative texts on controversial issues in contemporary Ireland. Contributors to the Síreacht series come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives but share a commitment to the exposition of what may often be disparaged as utopian ideas, minority perspectives on society, polity and environment, or critiques of received wisdom. Associated with the phrase ceól sírechtach síde found in Irish medieval poetry, síreacht refers to yearnings such as those evoked by the music of the aos sí, the supernatural people of Irish mythology. As the title for this series, we use it to signify longings for and imaginings of a better world in the spirit of the World Social Forums that ‘another world is possible’. At the heart of the mythology of the sí is the belief that laying beneath this world is the other world. So too these texts address the urgent challenge to imagine potential new societies and relationships, but also to recognise the seeds of these other worlds in what already exists. Cover image © | Cover by Studio 10 Design ...


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