(Not) Commemorating the First World War and the Somme

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In November 2013 the Attorney General of Northern Ireland, John Larkin, suggested the possibility to ending troubles-related historic prosecutions in Northern Ireland. These remarks provoked a considerable reaction, mostly hostile, and while the attorney’s rationale was based largely upon the practical difficulties associated with gathering reliable evidence and securing prosecutions after a lengthy time lag, his suggestion raises the question of whether forgetting would be preferable to remembering when it comes to our contested past. This paper intends to take a different slant on commemoration by exploring in broad terms the theme of ‘not commemorating’. In this regard it will examine the arguments in favour of remembering. Specifically in regard to the case of the memory of the First World War, it will examine the mistaken impression that the commemoration of that conflict was not widespread in independent Ireland during the inter-war years. Finally, it will suggest some of the greatest challenges facing contemporary Northern Irish society in marking the decade of centenaries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemembering 1916: Challenges for today
EditorsDeirdre MacBride
Place of PublicationBelfast
PublisherNorthern Ireland Community Relations Council
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781898276630
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
EventRemembering 1916 - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Nov 201325 Nov 2013


ConferenceRemembering 1916
CountryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

On cover: The Easter Rising, the Battle of the Somme and the First World War

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