Today a lecture series is being launched about the events of 100 years ago. How we understand the past provides the foundation for how we shape the future.
As we enter a decade of historic centenary anniversaries the Community Relations Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund have organised a series of public lectures in an attempt to encourage informed debate and reflection. The series, A Decade of Anniversaries 2012-23, will be launched at the Ulster Museum on 8 March.
Guest speaker at the launch will be DCAL Minister Caral Ni Chuilin.
Dr Eamon Phoenix, Chair of the lecture series, said:
‘In Ireland , it has been truly said, we have a common history but not a common memory. For some ‘1916’ conjures memories of Pearse the ‘blood sacrifice’ of the Easter Rising, for others, the ‘blood sacrifice’ of the Ulster Division at the Somme that bloody summer. In the coming decade this society- itself emerging from bitter conflict-will be challenged by the roll-out of a series of centenaries connected with the Irish Revolution and Partition. While opinion remains divided over such iconic events as the Covenant, the Rising and Partition, we must acknowledge that they shaped our destinies on this island, north and south.
‘The series will feature a range of perspectives on these seismic events . It will also explore the unexpected: the fact that two contrasting Covenants were signed in 1912; that the name ‘Sinn Féin’ was coined by Edward Carson’s Gaelic-speaking cousin, and that one of the most graphic accounts of the Rising was penned by a UVF man with a ‘ringside seat’! Things are rarely as they seem and this series is set to challenge, inform and stimulate dialogue about some of the foundation events of Modern Ireland.’
‘The motivations of Carson- the ‘lawyer with the Dublin accent’- Redmond- the ‘Home Rule imperialist’ , Craig, the pragmatic Ulsterman- and De Valera, the ‘first of the revisionists’- will be explored by experts over 10 evenings. The complex tapestry of events will be scrutinised to assess the impact of Carson on Irish nationalism , the impact of the Great War on Ireland , the causes of the 1916 Rising and the emergence of partition by 1921. ‘
Tony McCusker, Chair of the Community Relations Council said:
‘For those who wish to consolidate the success of the peace process, the ‘Decade of Anniversaries’ provides an opportunity as well as a challenge. This series of public talks will attempt to cut away the layers of myth and misunderstanding around the past and promote a more informed and balanced view of the historic forces, events and personalities which have shaped Modern Ireland.’
Ronnie Spence, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:
‘How we mark these anniversaries over the next decade will set a tone for our society for many years to come. We have inherited simplistic notions about this period, now we have the opportunity to recognise that what really happened was much more complex and interesting.’
Caral Ni Chuilin, Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, said:
“Significant centenaries during the decade ahead provide all of us in Ireland with the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of our shared past. My view is that it is only by viewing events in an inclusive way that we can learn from the past and ensure a peaceful future. Today is also international women’s day and this lecture series incorporates the centenary of women’s right to vote, their struggle, sacrifice and persistence. In recalling the past we must also be conscious that it is not simply about the history of national identity but also the wider social and economic story.”
Ray Mullan, CRC Director of Communications, 028 90 227500
Notes for editors
The series is entitled “Decade of Anniversaries 2012-2023: Remembering the Future”. It is organised by the Community Relations Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The series is being chaired by Dr Eamon Phoenix.
The lectures will be held at 7 pm on the dates below. Lectures 1- 5 will be held at the Ulster Museum; lectures 6-10 will be held at Stranmillis College. Lectures are free of charge but registration is required on the CRC website www.nicrcc.org.uk or phone 90-227500.
The format will be symposium with one hour for speakers and one hour discussion based on questions from the audience. The principal who will provide the overview will speak for about 30 minutes, followed by two experts giving different perspectives who will speak for 15 minutes each.
The lectures and panel discussion will be recorded to create a resource to provide strong overviews and a wide range of perspectives that can be disseminated in conjunction with local events next year and throughout the decade.
Thursday 8th March 2012
1. ‘The Burden of Our History’: The Historical Background to the period 1912-1923
Prof Paul Bew Two Irelands in Conflict? 1912 Revisited
John Killen Twentieth Century Ireland - Cartoons and Postcards
Prof. Mary O’Dowd - Women’s perspectives
Wednesday 14th March 2012
2. Carson, Craig, British Conservatism and the Third Home Rule Crisis (1910-14)
Dr Alan Parkinson Friends and Covenants- the Ulster Unionist campaign against Irish Home Rule, 1912-14
Dr. E Phoenix Divergent Views
Gordon Lucy The Significance of the Covenant
Wednesday 21st March 2012
3. Nationalism in Ireland 1900-16: Home Rulers, Separatists and Protestant Nationalists
Prof M Laffan Carson’s Example: the Radicalisation of Irish Nationalism
Dr Catherine Morris Alice Milligan and the Cultural Revival
Dr Donal McAnallen The GAA in Ulster, from Revival to Rising
Wednesday 28th March 2012
3. The Labour Movement in Ireland 1900-22
Dr Emmet O’Connor Labour and Ireland
John Gray 1907 Belfast Strike
Therese Moriarty Linen workers and female trade unionists
Wednesday 4th April 2012
5. Ireland and the First World War
Prof Keith Jeffery Our War?Ireland and the Great War 1914-18
Jim McDermott Ulster Catholics Belfast in particular and the Great War
Philip Orr The Great War, the Somme and the Ulster Protestant Psyche
One week break
Wednesday 18th April 2012
6. The 1916 Rising
Dr Fearghal McGarry The Easter Rising: the view from the grassroots
Dr. E Phoenix The UVF man who saw the Rising from the Gresham Hotel
Dr Margaret O’Callaghan Commemorating the Rising of 1916 in Belfast in 1966
Dr David Hume Contemporary Unionist view on the 1916 Rising
Wednesday 25th April 2012
7. The Women’s Movement in Ireland 1910-22
Dr Myrtle Hill Re-visioning the Past: Female Perspectives 1910-22
Dr Margaret Ward Unmanageable Revolutionaries: Women and Irish Nationalism
Dr Rosemary Cullen Owens Irish Women’s Suffrage Movement 1899-1922
Wednesday 2nd May 2012
8. From Rising to Truce 1916-21
Prof Michael Laffan The Irish Revolution: From Rising to Truce 1916-21
Dr Francis Costello The Irish Diaspora - their impact on the Revolution
Dr Marie Coleman Local Revolutions Longford - A Case Study
Wednesday 9th May 2012
9. Partition, Treaty and Civil War
Dr. E Phoenix Partition, Treaty and Civil War
Dr Alan Parkinson Shipyard Confetti- The 1920’s Belfast
Dr Eve Morrison Insights from Bureau of Military History, National Achieves of Ireland, Dublin
Wednesday 16th May 2012
10. Trapped by the Border
Dr. E Phoenix Northern Nationalists and Southern Unionists 1916-25