Sad Reminders

A major online Irish history conference was held recently at UCC on the Irish civil war. It featured a lot of good speakers but seems to have danced around some of the big issues. Nevertheless, pioneering detailed examinations of events are evidently taking place which will help interested scholars, sooner or later, deal with some nitty gritty issues or incidents.

Ten days after the online event ended, to notice side-by-side on the RTE homepage articles that the centenary of the outbreak of civil war was “today” and that the UK, on the very same day, was introducing legislation in parliament that could scrap an international treaty with major connotations for Ireland seemed a peculiar coincidence. Surface presentations of Anglo-Irish relations over the past decade have, particularly (but not exclusively) from the British side, dwelt on the theme of promoting a shared history. What that history is I’ll let others attempt to define, but if it means an Irish inability to diverge from British intentions then the events of a century ago are surely a sad reminder of what impact that can have.