Memory and Ireland: Source Round-Up

This coming Sunday marks one hundred years from the actual date of the Easter Rising’s commencement.  But in Ireland, the Easter Rising is commemorated on Easter week, not on 24 April.  True, it is known as the “Easter” Rising and not the “April 24th” Rising or “April” Rising.  But what does this say about the political, cultural, and religious contexts in which the rising is commemorated?  How much do those contexts differ from (or coincide with) those of 1916 itself?

We will have to wait a few years until this year’s commemoration of the Easter Rising’s one hundredth anniversary can be properly analyzed and viewed as part of (or a divergence from) the continuum of historical remembrance in Ireland.  For now, it’s useful to turn to the sources on Irish historical memory that analyze eras prior to our own.

The study of historical memory in Ireland is dominated by analysis of remembrance of the Famine, the Easter Rising, and World War I, as well as the 1798 Rebellion, the Civil War, and the Troubles.  I myself have been particularly interested in the ways in which historical events and memories from other countries – such as the American Civil War – have been recounted, commemorated, and used for political objectives in Ireland.

I’ve listed below some of the monographs and edited collections in Irish historical memory studies.  This source round-up encompasses the past fifteen years and is by no means exhaustive, but gives an indication of just how fruitful and interesting this area of study has been – and hopefully will spark some ideas of how we can conceive of historical memory and commemoration now.  For me personally, it’s always fascinating to see how history is used for political and cultural purposes in our own time.  If you know of any other good sources, let us know in the comments!

  • Guy Beiner, Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007).
  • Eberhard Bort, ed., Commemorating Ireland: History, Politics, Culture (Irish Academic Press, 2004).
  • Peter Collins, Who Fears to Speak of ’98?: Commemoration and the Continuing Impact of the United Irishmen (Ulster Historical Foundation, 2004).
  • Brian Conway, Commemoration and Bloody Sunday: Pathways of Memory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
  • Mary E. Daly and Margaret O’Callaghan, eds., 1916 in 1966: Commemorating the Easter Rising (Royal Irish Academy, 2007).
  • Graham Dawson, Making Peace with the Past?: Memory, Trauma and the Irish Troubles (Manchester University Press, 2008).
  • Anne Dolan, Commemorating the Irish Civil War: History and Memory, 1923-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
  • Frances Flanagan, Remembering the Revolution: Dissent, Culture, and Nationalism in the Irish Free State (Oxford University Press, 2015).
  • R.F. Foster, The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland (Allen Lane, 2001).
  • Oona Frawley, ed., Memory Ireland (Syracuse University Press, 2011-2014):
  1.  History and Modernity
  2. Diaspora and Memory Practices
  3. The Famine and the Troubles
  4. James Joyce and Cultural Memory (co-edited with Katherine O’Callaghan)
  • John Gibney, The Shadow of a Year: The 1641 Rebellion in Irish History and Memory (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013).
  • Rebecca Graff-McRae, Remembering and Forgetting 1916: Commemoration and Conflict in Post-Peace Process Ireland (Irish Academic Press, 2010).
  • Peter Gray, “Memory and the Commemoration of the Great Irish Famine,” in The Memory of Catastrophe, ed. Peter Gray and Kendrick Oliver (Manchester University Press, 2004).
  • Richard S. Grayson and Fearghal McGarry, eds., Remembering 1916: The Easter Rising, the Somme and the Politics of Memory in Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
  • Roisín Higgins, Transforming 1916: Meaning, Memory and the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Easter Rising (Cork University Press, 2012).
  • Nuala C. Johnson, Ireland, the Great War, and the Geography of Remembrance (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
  • Emily Mark-FitzGerald Commemorating the Irish Famine: Memory and the Monument (Liverpool University Press, 2013).
  • Ian McBride, ed., History and Memory in Modern Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
  • Lawrence W. McBride, ed., Reading Irish Histories: Texts, Contexts, and Memory in Modern Ireland (Four Courts, 2003).
  • Mark McCarthy, Ireland’s 1916 Rising: Explorations of History-Making, Commemoration & Heritage in Modern Times (Ashgate, 2012).
  • Mark McCarthy, ed., Ireland’s Heritages: Critical Perspectives on Memory and Identity (Ashgate, 2005).
  • Jason R. Myers, The Great War and Memory in Irish Culture, 1918-2010 (Munsel, 2013).
  • Cormac Ó Gráda, Black ’47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy, and Memory (Princeton University Press, 1999).
  • Emilie Pine, The Politics of Irish Memory: Performing Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
  • Kirk Simpson, Unionist Voices and the Politics of Remembering the Past in Northern Ireland (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
  • Catherine Switzer, Unionists and Great War Commemoration in the North of Ireland, 1914-1918 (Irish Academic Press, 2007).
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