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Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory

Transitions and Transformations


Edited By Marguerite Corporaal, Christopher Cusack and Ruud van den Beuken

Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory presents the latest research from Irish studies scholars across a variety of disciplines, including history, literature, theatre, photography and folklore, and generates new and challenging insights into the dynamics of cultural remembrance in Irish society. Featuring contributions by leading researchers in the field such as Guy Beiner, Graham Dawson and Emilie Pine, this collection demonstrates how the examination of Irish cultural legacies can illuminate our understanding of processes of identity formation, heritage policies, canonization, musealization and the transgenerational and transcultural inflections of the past. Investigating topics such as trauma, contested politics and commemorative practices, and exploring recent theoretical developments, the volume offers an interdisciplinary overview of the recent cross-fertilization between memory studies and Irish studies.
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4 Hauntings of the Irish Revolution: Veterans and Memory of the Independence Struggle and Civil War (Eve Morrison)


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4 Hauntings of the Irish Revolution: Veterans and Memory of the Independence Struggle and Civil War

Separatist nationalist veterans of the Irish independence struggle and civil war (1913–1923) were a generation of transition, their memories stretching from the old Ireland in which they were reared – the Ireland they fought against – through the independence struggle itself and continuing into the new, post-revolutionary, partitioned jurisdictions created by the conflict. A host of official and independent projects were initiated in the decades from 1922 up to the 1980s to gather testimony and documents from them. The vast majority of contributors were former members of the Irish Volunteers or Irish Republican Army (IRA).1 Much of the material has only recently come to light or become easily accessible, and there is almost certainly more awaiting discovery. Personal testimony from separatist veterans is a rich source for exploring both the autobiographical and social memory of the Irish Revolution. Veterans giving or conducting interviews, writing statements or articles, memoirs and letters were active agents of memory in a public sphere of well-known published accounts and private disputes. Heroic public or published narratives and ‘fighting stories’ had the highest profile, but they were rarely representative of its totality.2 Veterans also influenced, and were influenced by, local memory. ← 83 | 84 →

Oral history, personal testimony and received tradition (folklore) are not interchangeable categories, but there is no neat dividing line between them either. This chapter explores the...

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