Marginalizing Memory: Political Commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising

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McIntyre, Anthony
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The recent centenary commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising were notable for the considerable effort the Irish government put into making them inclusive. However, inclusiveness in this context masks the fact that the commemorations were exclusive of a particular brand of memory that traces in very uncomplicated fashion its own lineage back not just to 1916, but also specifically to the political violence utilized by the Easter Rising rebels. Not included within the state category of the inclusive, for example, was the second largest Easter Rising commemoration in the North, fronted by masked and uniformed figures. This article seeks to shed light on the tenebrous netherworld where the tradition of armed republicanism—through a combination of its own “purist” volition and state strategies of de-legitimization and marginalization—has been confined. It is written from the perspective that the dialectic between revolutionary memory and constitutional memory is an example of how the past is assessed through the prism of the present, and not with an eye for accuracy. Author keywords: Memory; Commemoration; Irish Republican Army, Dissident; Ireland--History--Easter Rising, 1916