Aitheasc tosaigh ón Uachtarán ag ócáid i dtaca le “1916 and the Ethics of Memory”       

Sat 27th Mei, 2015 | 10:50
suíomh: Ionad Athmhuintearais agus Síochána Ghleann Chrí, Áth na Sceire

‘ 1916 and the Ethics of Memory ’ Address by President Higgins

The Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, 27 June 2015

A Dhaoine Uaisle agus a Chairde

Is mór an ónóir dom a bheith anseo i nGleann Crí, i gcroí-lár na sléibhte i gCill Mhantáin.

Ladies and Gentleman, and Friends,

It is an honour for me to be here today in Glencree, at the heart of the hills of Wicklow.

I want to thank William Devas, Glencree’s staff and board for their invitation to speak today.

It is fitting that we should come together here in Glencree to consider the challenge of how we should reflect on the legacy of 1916. For forty years the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation has provided a space for dialogue, and opportunities for people from across this island and across the religious and political spectrum, to come together and quite simply talk; and even more importantly, to listen to each other and at times come to understand a previously opposing and challenging perspective. 

While Glencree’s mission has been very directly focussed on building a better future for all the people on this island, it has always done so with a respectful consideration of the legacies of the past. The work of Glencree has been grounded in an unswerving determination to serve the cause of peace, and a strong ethical belief in, and commitment to, the core value of respect for the different versions of shared events in time and space. 

The contribution that Glencree has made to reconciliation and the building of positive relationships, across the island and beyond, is immense and well recognised.  Indeed that commitment is so clearly evidenced in your recent publication “Deepening Reconciliation”.  I am delighted, then, to have been invited here today, as patron of Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, to celebrate your achievements and to acknowledge the ongoing work of the Centre, of which this event itself is an important landmark.

The term of my Presidency coincides with what has been referred to as the “Decade of Commemorations”, and addressing the challenge of this broad programme of anniversaries and remembering was an important theme in my Inaugural Address in November 2011.  Beginning with the Lockout of 1913, and responding to anniversaries such as the beginning of the First World War, the founding of Cumann na mBan, the death of O’Donovan Rossa, the sinking of the Lusitania and the military campaign at Gallipoli, I have had many opportunities over the past three and a half years to reflect and speak on the theme of memory. The challenge of remembering ethically was a significant part of the Ethics Initiative which I launched as the second President of Ireland Initiative of my Presidency.

In addressing the need to “remember ethically” I turned to the philosophical writings of Hannah Arendt, Paul Ricoeur, Avishai Margalit and Richard Kearney among others.  I was also aware of the interest and published contemporary work of Johnston McMasters, Onora O’Neill and others from whom we will hear today. 

When I began a first consideration of these concepts, I had been reading some relatively recent works on Hannah Arendt, an author for whom a consideration of forgiveness, was central to the evolution of her work.  I had been reading Marie Luise Knott’s Unlearning with Hannah Arendt  and Elizabeth Young-Bruehl’s Why Arendt Matters.  I was also aware of the centrality of the concept of forgiveness to the circumstances of our time in an international context, and I had available to me the very valuable book entitled Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness, edited by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela and Chris Van der Merwe. 

Invited to speak at the launch of the International Meeting of the Institute of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queens University Belfast in October last year, I gave my paper the title ‘Remembering, Forgiving and Forgetting’, to which I added on the night a fourth concept, ‘Imagining’ – for it is in imagining a future released from the burdens of distorted past memories, and seemingly insurmountable present difficulties, that the energy is found for constructing what might be an empowering ethics of memory. 

While a terrible and heinous act cannot, for the most moral of reasons, be dissolved or forgotten, it is only through an act of imagination and creativity that we can prevent that tragic memory from colonising the future. In the process, of course, making an important distinction within the specification of the future, stressing that our usage of ‘future’ is not merely utopian, but a future that is inviting us in its capacity for achievement.

In preparing for this afternoon’s consideration of 1916, I took that reflection as my point of departure.  In attempting to recall 1916, we must remind ourselves that individual memories survive and take shape through a relationship with others; evolving over time and open to re-interpretation and reconsideration as we strive to transact a relationship that will release us from the weight of past wrongs; and that will allow a moving forward, however tentatively, to new beginnings by loosening the lid on the mouldering jar of “memory”.

The softening of hearts involved in recollection is more easily caught in literature than in politics.  Yet, softening hearts require not just life-enhancing instincts, but also the provision of opportunities, and spaces such as Glencree, that allow us to yield to each other in mutual respect – to recognise that our fears, insecurities and vulnerabilities can only be assuaged by actions of mutual generosity.  This is the kind of existential generosity that Michael Longley described in those lines of his famous poem ‘Ceasefire’:

“I get down on my knees and do what must be done

And kiss Achilles’ hand, the killer of my son”

All societies emerging out of conflict wrestle with the legacy of the past and how to address it.  They must consider, not only what is consciously recalled by an individual act of memory, but what is unconsciously transmitted, often through uncritically accepted versions of the past and for which the status of culture is often claimed.  What to remember, and how to remember it, carries the inescapable implication of ethics.  It is important that any approach to dealing with the past recognises the complex relationship that exists between memory, ethics and forgiveness. 

While dealing with the legacy of the past is an enormously complex task, it is also a task that has the potential to transfigure (in the most positive sense) the relationships between and across the peoples of these islands, and how we relate to our sometimes shared and sometimes overlapping histories.

Some people argue that the burden of the past is too heavy, too painful, and that we are not capable of providing adequate answers to the multitude of questions still pre-occupying, and indeed still afflicting, those directly affected by the violence of the Troubles.

Yet, however great that task may seem, it is now widely accepted that embracing any accommodating but unsustainable amnesia is not only counter-productive but, perhaps in its consequences for victims and their relatives, would even constitute an amoral position.  There is, of course, not only this challenge of rejecting a conscious amnesia as a strategy, but the more subtle danger of an unconscious amnesia, a turning of the eyes of history away from what is disconcerting.

The late Paul Ricoeur suggested, in one of his later writings, that forgetting the past is itself a harmful and damaging act.  As he put it – “to be forgotten is to die twice”. 

The desire to remember however, goes beyond a need for catharsis and a duty to ‘not forget’ in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.  While to ignore the past would be a betrayal of those who lost their lives and of those whose lives have been blighted by the loss or serious injury of their loved ones, we must also ensure our remembered past is not allowed to overshadow and define the issues of moral significance in either the present or in the future to which we aspire. 

In undertaking the complex process of an ethical remembering, there are many questions that might be asked.  How do we reconcile the differential nature of how we recall and what is being recalled?  How do we distinguish between shared memory and common memory and set about unravelling the truth that might lie between?  How are we to properly consider the context of the times in which the recalled event took place?  And how can we remember in a way that has the potential to release us from past wrongs if such remembering is determined by the events that flow from present circumstance and ideology, that can carry crystallised versions of hurts, recriminations and revenge? 

Artists, as I have said, may be better at answering these questions, and at reflecting on the contradictions involved, but it is on the shoulders of courageous women and men in the area of the public world and politics that the burden of immediacy falls.  How we remember, how we may come to forgive and forget, and what is open to reconsideration, cannot be perceived as abstract questions to be subordinated to the needs of day-to-day politics.  Rather, these are questions which must lie at the heart of any aspiration for a peaceful, fair and truly reconciled discourse across this island.

In considering 1916 we have to respond to the seismic events of both the Rising and the Somme. This requires generous effort, and reaching an accommodation with conflicting versions of the past is but a stage in the journey via understanding to the destination of forgiveness for past hurt, neglect or omission; a destination which, in so many areas of conflict, at home and abroad, past and present, the participants may not reach.  Yet, as Hannah Arendt has written “Forgiveness is the only way to reverse the irreversible flow of history” and it is only through such an ethical remembering, as we now undertake, that we can avoid revisiting the blinding categories of censure or denunciation or indeed revenge and bitterness.

Remembering Easter 1916 in an ethical manner certainly poses challenges for all of us as individuals, as communities and as a state. How do we mark this important moment on our road to independence, and honour those who died fighting in that cause, appropriately and inclusively? How are we to properly recover the context of the times in which the recalled event took place?  How can we remember in such a way as releases us from past wrongs, leaves us free from crystallised versions of hurt, recrimination and revenge?  It is here we encounter the challenge, or even the obligation of “unlearning”.

These are difficult questions, but they are fundamental questions, and we should approach them in a spirit of openness, using the process of commemoration, which has now commenced, to emancipate and empower us, and others, in our contemporary condition.

It may be that the first step in understanding 1916 in an authentic and holistic way is to identify what has been excluded or marginalised in the official orthodoxy of the period.  In their introduction to the recently published ‘Handbook of the Irish Revival’, the editors of that work Declan Kiberd and PJ Mathews warn against an uncritical acceptance of the versions of those who sought to establish a rationalised version of the decades leading to independence.  Of the government authorities of the new State, the editors express the view:

“those who commemorated often sought to control the discourse in ways which made them the social successors. In that process much was forgotten – Connolly’s socialism, the dead in World War I, the role of radical women, the part played by the 1913 LockOut.”

For too long our understanding of 1916 and the surrounding period was hindered by an assumption that we can more easily make sense of events, and indeed our own sense of individual and national identity, if we keep historical narratives simple and homogenous.  We must in commemorating challenge this urge to over-simplify.  Complex events demand a consideration that respects complexity, seeks to unravel it rather than invest a simplicity that leads away from knowledge, even to ideological manipulation.

If we consider in the first instance the relevance of World War I, we can see that in more recent years there has been progress in engaging with the experience of the war, and now we can take into consideration more easily its impact on our interpretations of 1916. As new materials including first hand testimonies became more widely available, we can now perceive more clearly the catastrophic impact that the first of two global wars in the Twentieth Century had on our own island and on Irish attitudes and allegiances.  For so long, however, commemorating, or even allowing the memory of, the First World War did not seem to fit into the mainstream narrative of Ireland’s path to independence or was largely left to become the preserve of the Unionist community or those from a Protestant background.

In seeking to gain a fuller picture of the Rising itself we also have to recall not only the participants of war and rebellion; but also to recognise all of those who suffered in its midst and in its wake.  As Declan Kiberd has written, ‘the stories of the past had celebrated the wrong people: the smiters of the world rather than the smitten’.[1]

Seán O’Casey too, of course, wrote passionately, if not angrily, of the marginalised victims of conflicts. Tellingly, it is the names of O’Casey’s fictional characters, Bessie Burgess or Nora Clitheroe, that are more familiar to us today rather than the names of the real victims of the violence, many of whom have remained anonymous, unrecognised, and unremembered. In this regard the response to such omission in the work of Joe Duffy in remembering the children killed during the Rising deserves special praise.

When we seek to recall not only the Rising but also the Somme, we are required to ask from what conditions did the participants come?  For many, it was poverty rather than faith or beliefs that led to activism. It was poverty that drove some to rebel against the British state and others to fight on its behalf in the trenches of Flanders. 

A young Indian law student, V. V. Giri, who was in Dublin during the Easter Rising, wrote in his memoir of the “grinding poverty and squalor in the areas of Dublin inhabited by the working class”.[2] Indeed, in 1916 Dublin’s infant mortality rates were worse than those of Caluctta in Giri’s homeland.

For Giri, when it comes to influence we should bear in mind that he was lectured by Thomas MacDonagh and he met with Eamon De Valera; yet it was James Connolly and the Irish labour movement that he drew on for his real inspiration. James Connolly, of course, saw the Irish labour movement, and a new Irish Republic, in a wider international context, and had written of it within such an analysis.  In Socialism and Nationalism he wrote:

“The Republic I would wish our fellow-countrymen to set before them as their ideal should be of such a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land...[3]”

Giri would go on to become involved in the labour movement in India following his expulsion from Ireland in 1916, many years before he became the fourth President of his country.

Although the labour movement linked the workers of Ireland with working men and women in other lands, other leaders of the 1916 Rising also situated the Irish struggle for independence in a wider colonial context. Then too, nationalists differed in what they sought.  Some sought a form of autonomy, some commercial freedom, some analysed forms of independence within empire.  Within all of this, the flame of egalitarian Republicanism was a wan light, a light that would in the succeeding years find quite a scarcity of supporting oil. 

We must remember too that the shared story of the 1916 Rising and the First World War also coincides with the beginning of the end of the previously insatiable global empires.  As Yeats would note, when ‘[t]hings fall apart; the centre cannot hold’.  In the years following the 1916 Rising, an already international demand for recognition of democracy in its various forms, was well underway in colonised nations across the globe. The Boer rebellion in South Africa, defeat for Russia in its war with Japan, and the establishment of an independent China had each, in their own way, dented the myth of the impenetrability of Empire even before the outbreak of war closer to home.  The disastrous conduct and terrifying consequences of the war in its early stages had undermined the moral and political force of leaders of Empire, and revolutionary sounds were growing louder across Europe.

Thus, when we consider the international context of the Irish Revolution, we may sometimes underestimate the influence which this assertion of independence against empire in Dublin was to have on the world.  The work that Glencree has undertaken in sharing the lessons from conflict and resolution in Ireland with those facing similar problems in other parts of the world is clear indication that rarely is a political situation or event so unique in one place or circumstance that its processes cannot be revelatory and of assistance to others.

There are other significant omissions to be undone. The story of the women who participated in the Easter Rising is yet another strand in the overall story of this time that is now being let into the light. It was the political activism of women which led to the extension of the franchise two years later, in 1918.  Of course the sight of women at polling stations caused alarm for some, while others took a more progressive view.  On 14 December 1918, the Irish Times editorial made the following – and somewhat patronising - recommendation:

“If any woman pleads domestic engagements, her husband should tell her that on this one occasion his dinner is less vital than her vote”.[4]

Notwithstanding such culinary self-sacrifice, in the years following the Rising, it was clear that the crucial role of women during the Rising was disregarded, and not only in the historical accounts, but where it mattered most of all in relation to the most basic income.  

Margaret Skinnider, a member of Cumann na mBan who was shot and injured while in command of five men during Easter Week 1916, was refused a pension in 1925 because the law was “applicable to soldiers as generally understood in the masculine sense”. The Army’s legal advice was that a “person” was, in fact, “referable only to the male sex”.[5]

Remembering 1916 a hundred years on, and in a newly inclusive way that acknowledges complexity, provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge, even if belatedly, and in revision that Irish women have always played, continue to play, and should be supported in playing, a central, active and direct role in shaping the great issues and struggles of the day.

I have referred elsewhere to the work of Richard Kearney in this area of remembering ethically and to his astute observation that engagement with the plurality and diversity of various narratives could, over time, contribute to a culture of forgiveness. Forgiveness and healing remain important and necessary.  Even at the remove of a century, the memory of 1916 while of importance and worthy of respect as a foundational event, still carries pain for many.  

All of the dead, including those Irish who died abroad, at the Somme and elsewhere, share the decade.  At a community and political level, respectful acts of shared remembering of the various iconic events of the other traditions have played an important part in our journey towards healing and reconciliation.  This is especially true in relation to those exercises in sharing moments of grief and bereavement.

We have seen so many great gestures of forgiveness over the past forty years, grounded in what I have referred to as a kind of existential generosity as old as humanity and its greatest writing and as captured most eloquently by Michael Longley’s poem Ceasefire, to which I have already referred. The act to which that poem refers did not save Troy, but it restored for a while, between antagonists, the respect called forth by grief.

Most recently, Prince Charles in Co. Sligo – at the site of a place of great personal and collective sorrow on Irish soil –borne out of his own anguish in the loss of his great-uncle, said that he understood

“in a profound way, the agonies borne by so many others in these islands, of whatever faith, denomination or political tradition.”

In April, I represented Ireland at the centenary commemoration of the Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey. During the Commonwealth and Ireland Service at the Helles monument, it was moving to hear an extract from one of the last letters written by a young Dublin man – Patrick Tobin – who fought and died there. Running along the sandbanks in the intense heat, just days before he was shot and killed, he thought of what he called his beloved “Alps of Dollymount” strand at home.   

As the personal testimonies of combatants, in Flanders, Suvla and in Dublin, have become more freely accessible we have all been moved in a visceral and affecting way by the images of the violence imposed, and the destruction of young lives. War takes the young from what is home to them, what is intimate, what is remembered. On each rendition of the false heroics of war we should counter with the terrible reality that it is the children of the poor who have always paid the price of the pretensions of empire and the godfathers of violence. 

To understand 1916 as it was experienced, let us imagine the Dublin of those years, among the survivors of the Lockout, where conspiracy for revolution is fomenting on the very same streets and same social conditions where telegrams and the feared for messages they are bringing are arriving from the front. The emotions of the city and the country are in a fever as the horror behind the rhetoric of the recruiting posters becomes apparent. Dublin, with a population of perhaps a quarter of its present size, lost hundreds of young men to Gallipoli alone in 1915 and, when one combines this with the later losses on the Western Front in 1916, and then the losses at home of hundreds more in the Rising and the subsequent executions, used for exemplary effect, one can see now these dreadful tranches of lost lives changed the city utterly.

The sharing of moments of grief, even at a distance, allows us to remember both the Somme and the Easter Rising, two seminal events of 1916, in a manner of mutual respect that can deepen reconciliation rather than seeking to further perpetuate conflicting versions of what might be, for whatever purposes, different identities.

At the same time, we must recognise too that exemplary violence is of the worst kind, above all when it is violence by the State.  One of the most iconic episodes of the Rising occurred in its aftermath - the executions at Kilmainham Gaol. Most historians accept that this moment had a profound and radicalising impact on Irish politics, the Irish people, that it changed the nature of popular discourse, as Yeats wrote:

“O but we talked at large before
The sixteen men were shot,
But who can talk of give and take,
What should be and what not
While those dead men are loitering there
To stir the boiling pot?”[6]

Considering the decade of commemorations in its full context, we must allow too for the fact that it is through the prism of the War of Independence and of the Civil War that we construct perspectives of 1916. Considering these events in a spirit of forgiveness will pose particular challenges for all of us in the coming years.

Is our process of commemoration to be approached with trepidation, looking downwards to pick our way through the pitfalls and offences that might be committed, or does remembering 1916 offer us hope and sustenance for our future?  These are the choices and the basic question we must answer.

We must perhaps be encouraged by the fact that the shared and ethical remembering in which we have all engaged in the process of commemorations thus far has contributed positively to the building of peace and trust on our island.  The rediscovery of lost accounts, diaries and letters, the sharing of remembered grief and bereavement, and the generous acts of healing and all of the fumbling towards forgiveness have strengthened and reinforced a peace which was so hard won. That knowledge should encourage us to continue on the path of ethical remembering and commemoration, always knowing as Václav Havel put it 

“that words can kill, and have killed, as well as making us free.”

As I referred to earlier, in my speech at Queens last year, I added to these three concepts of remembering, forgiving and forgetting, that of “imagining”.  1916 was a moment in our history informed by an emancipatory view of the world and the possibilities of freedom. While there may be, and will always be debate and contested interpretation of the motivations and strategies of the revolutionaries and their contemporaries, I suggest that the enduring relevance of their Revolution is in their idealism.

Then too, it is also surely helpful that, as we in Ireland attempt a process of reconstruction and re-imagining of our State in the wake of severe economic and political failures, that we acknowledge that we have much to learn from the idealistic visionaries of this period.  Lest we be moved to judge others retrospectively we must ask ourselves if we have taken our opportunities to break away from old and failing paradigms of thought, or perhaps we should acknowledge that we have lacked the moral courage and intellectual commitment to bring the world we need, sustainable and equal, into being.

This work of commemorating should invigorate rather than discourage us.  It is in imagining a future released from the burdens of distorted past memories, and seemingly insurmountable present difficulties, falsely presented as inevitable, that the energy is found for constructing what might be an ethics not only of memory but of life.  It is only through acts of imagination and creativity that we can prevent forms of tragic memory from colonising the future.

The revolution of 1916 was, as Diarmaid Ferriter has described it:

“while propelled by much idealism and courage, also multilayered, complicated, messy, brutal and sometimes compromised as a result of competing impulses, tension between the labour and republican movements and the use of the revolution as a cloak to try and settle grievances over land, class, the distribution of power and status.”[7]

I agree, and perhaps that quote is even more apt for the War of Independence, and particularly for the Civil War, the remembering of which awaits us.  However, for all its complexity, the Rising was undeniably foundational in nature.  Speculation as to what might have happened otherwise had it not happened is just that – speculation.  There can be no doubt that the protagonists themselves saw their actions as unavoidable and necessary, and that the independence of Ireland directly followed from these events. 

In a way that perhaps could not be achieved on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising, in the 100th year we can now acknowledge the diversity of our past.  The process and space of commemoration and reflection we share and to which we welcome each other, no longer as strangers or in fear, can facilitate a deepening of the bonds of empathy and healing between all those who remember the different strands and truths of our shared history in their different, but not necessarily excluding ways. 

We have had in the past few years moments which powerfully deny authority to the distortions of the past, the authority to dictate the present; and they have the ability to release us from a history viewed through the prism of a single or exclusive narrative;  moments which remind us that while we have a duty to those gone before us to remember and recall, no person or nation must be forever defined and judged by any single version of the actions of their antecedents; that it is only by a constant will to release each other from the consequences of recalled past deeds that we can move forward and achieve new beginnings, beyond the collision of competing certainties while some very significant gestures can be, and have been made by those in leadership roles; it is in communities and popular consciousness that the most significant and enduring change must take place.

Those acts and gestures of grace and generosity, to which I have referred were, of course, not in themselves just defining moments of transformation but they constituted a public demonstration of the freedom that has been achieved to create new beginnings.  This freedom as the culmination of a long process of searching, interrogating and critical reassessment of how a shared space in history will be remembered; a freedom won through a dialogue of forgiveness and a relinquishing of pain, hurt and divisive bitterness. 

Elizabeth Young-Bruehl in her consideration of Hannah Arendt’s work, and the evolution of her thinking on forgiveness, refers to how Arendt wrestled with the problems of the relationship between the forgiver and the forgiven.  The claiming of the status of the forgiver had problems.  Again, agency, and the issue as to whether forgiveness had to be sought had to be considered.  Then too there was the issue of self-forgiveness. 

Marie Luise Knott puts it very well:

“Ricoeur sees it as the historian’s task to salvage possibilities for action that have been forgotten and to liberate the unkept promises of the past from the ruins of history”.[8]

Unlearning the comfort, and solace too, of versions of our life and past is a necessary, preliminary, an ongoing task indeed.  However difficult it may be for us, we have to realise that unlearning is a crucial preparation for the journey of reconciliation.  Marie Luise Knott tells us that:

“In the difficult work of unlearning, Arendt drove out her own ‘opinions’ on the concept of forgiveness as in many previous cases she ‘forgot’ the unexamined prejudices that keep us from thinking.”

There is a headline in this for all of us.

While some very significant gestures can be made by those who are in roles of leadership, it is in communities and in popular consciousness that the most significant and enduring change must take place.

Happily, the qualities of closeness and warmth have been the hallmark of relationships between these islands in recent years. We owe this transformation not least to the hard work and courage of those who, across generations and borders, dedicated themselves to peace in Northern Ireland. Their unflinching determination reversed what too many had thought irreversible.  At a community and political level, respectful and courageous acts of shared remembering, and of the acknowledgement of the iconic moments in the stories of the other tradition, have also played an important part in our journey towards healing, reconciliation and a future released from vengeful reaction. 

At the State Banquet at Windsor Castle last April, an event that brought together leaders from all four corners of these islands, I said that:

“We owe a duty to all those who lost their lives, the duty to build together in peace; it is the only restitution, the only enduring justice we can offer them.”

Má tá síocháin bhuan agus chóir le bunú, ní mór dúinn dul i ngleic leis an stair. Ní bheadh sé eiticiúil ná infheidhme neamhaird a dhéanamh de ná an díth cuimhne a ligean orainn; ní dhéanfadh sin ach an mhímhuinín agus an naimhdeas a chothú amach anseo.

[An enduring and just peace requires us to engage with the past. To ignore it or to pretend amnesia would neither be ethical or workable; it would merely sow the seeds of future distrust and enmity. ]

Engaging with the past is not easy. It involves a complex negotiation of the manifold stories, memories, hurts, legacies and emotions of all who recall 1916 or were or are affected by the Troubles.  Finding a fair and comprehensive way of dealing with the past, one that will win the confidence of all, will be a huge challenge - but a challenge that cannot be shirked.  In facing up to that challenge, let us at least ensure that our approach is characterised by a will to remember ethically, to view forgiveness as a true release from the past, and to move forward to a new chapter unburdened by any bitter memory of that past, free to make of our imagining, an emancipatory, inclusive achievement in conditions of an enduring peace.

Thank you for your attention. 

[1] Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland: The Literature of a Modern Nation (London, 1995), p. 222.

[2] V. V. Giri, My Life and Times (Macmillan Company of India, 1976) quoted in Colm Keena, ‘An Irishman’s Diary’, The Irish Times, 5 January 2008.

[3] James Connolly, ‘Socialism and Nationalism’ in Peter Berresford-Ellis (ed.), James Connolly: Selected Writings (London, 1997), p. 122

[4] Quoted in Maurice Walsh, Bitter Freedom: Ireland in a Revolutionary World 1918-1923 (London, 2015), pp. 15-16.

[5] Genevieve Carbery, ‘Women played key and courageous role in 1916 Rising’ in The Irish Times, 17 January 2014.

[6] Yeats, ‘Sixteen Dead Men’, in ibid., p. 154

[7] Ferriter, Irish Times 30th August 2014

[8] Knott M.L. 2011   Unlearning with Hannah Arendt  Other Press