The Politics of Pluralism: Historians and Easter 2016

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Abstract

In 2016 the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland was hailed as a remarkable success. Some 250,000 people observed the formal ceremony outside the General Post Office on Easter Sunday, while the following day 750,000 individuals took part in Reflecting the Rising, Ireland’s largest ever public history festival. Beyond its popularity, the most striking aspect of this commemorative activity was its pluralism which saw the foregrounding of previously overlooked perspectives such as the role of women. In January 2020, however, political and public opposition compelled the Irish goverment to postpone a ceremony commerating Irish policemen killed during the War of Independence. This essay explores why commemoration of Crown forces proved relatively uncontentious in 2016, and analyses the extent to which some of the limitations of pluralist commemoration were identified by historians in their engagement with the centenary. Drawing in part on personal involvement in commemorative projects, this essay considers how historians navigated the challenges of “commemorationist history” in 2016.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEire Ireland: Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies
Publication statusAccepted - 13 Dec 2021

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