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5 Commemoration and History I n Ireland we are currently living through a decade of centenaries marking a chain of events in Irish history that commenced with the introduction of the Third Home Rule Bill in the British House of Commonsin1912andconcludedwiththeestablishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. At the time of the writing of this book, 2017, we have only reached the decade’s midpoint,butmanyofusfeelcommemoration-saturated already. The one hundredth anniversary of the 1916 rebellion against British rule was, of course, particularly salient. On Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, approximately 1,600 Irish men and women – comprised of members of the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and Cumann na mBan – seized a number of strategic buildings in Dublin. Outside one of these buildings, the General Post Office (GPO) in the centre of the city, Patrick Pearse read from a document that proclaimed the establishment of an Irish Republic, and of a provisional government comprisedofsevenmenthatwouldoverseetheestablishment Commemoration 6 and administration of that Republic. Supporting actions took place in the broader Dublin area and in Enniscorthy (Wexford),BawnardnearFermoy(Cork),Athenry(Galway), and Tralee and Banna Strand (Kerry). In 2016, in remembrance of this day and ensuing events, including the crushing of the rebellion and the execution of some of its leaders, thousands of commemorative activities took place in cities, towns and villages throughout the island of Ireland, particularly south of the border. Some of these activities were part of the official programme of commemorations, such as the principal centennial celebrations held in Dublin on Easter Sunday and Monday. Others – most notably the parade, pageant and concert organised by the Reclaim the Vision of 1916 initiative – were associated with groups who are critical of the state and those who they claim benefit most from its policies. At regional level, Ireland’s many local history societies also put on events, some of which drew attention to the contribution made by those associated with the respective area to the Rising, though most were of a more general nature. For example, the conference held by the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society in July 2016 explored issues ranging from the political and cultural climate in Cork before the Rising to the circumstances of Cork Protestants in 1916. Trade unions and campaigning organisations of various kinds likewise planned and took part in activities relating to the marking of 1916, with Ireland’s largest trade union, SIPTU, covering three sides of its headquarters, Liberty Hall, with images of the insurrection.1 Nearby, the Abbey 7 COMMEMORATION AND HISTORY Theatreannouncedaspecial1916centenaryprogramme, ‘Waking the Nation’, that sparked controversy due to its almost complete omission of female playwrights.2 Those of us who work in the third-level educational sector, particularly in history and English departments, were under considerable pressure to ensure that the institution in which we are based was initiating and participating in at least as many centenary-related events as other Irish universities, and that our departments were at least as commemoration-active as other departments in our home university. Special commemoration committees were established in universities throughout the country with the former aim in mind. As part of its special decade of centenaries series of annual publications, History Irelandmagazinebroughtoutacollectionofessays,1916: Dream and Death, on the impact of the Rising. Under the title The Workers’ Republic: James Connolly and the Road to the Rising, SIPTU made available in one volume all of the extant issues published between 29 May 1915 and 22 April 2016 of the James Connolly-edited news-sheet, The Workers’ Republic. Publishers competed for their share of the Rising book market with both new historical accounts of this event, sometimes referred to in the blurb as definitive, and reprints of previously published studies, often marketed as foundational. Bookshops also stocked novels set against the backdrop of 1916, such as Lia Mills’ Fallen, which was the 2016 choice for Dublin: One City One Book.3 Rising-themed children’s publicationsincludeJoeDuffy’sChildrenoftheRising4 and The Irish Rebellion: April 1916 (The Young Indiana Jones Commemoration 8 Chronicles, Book 8). In the latter book, Indiana Jones, as a boy, implausibly witnesses the Rising and, even more implausibly, bumps into a number of well-known Irish literary figures, including James Joyce, W.B. Yeats and Sean O’Casey. Thankfully, the Indiana Jones franchise was not the only non-Irish publishing entity to pay attention to the Rising centenary; amongst the others that did so was Jacobin, a notable magazine of the American left, which dedicated an entire issue, ‘Between the Risings...


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