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Patrimoine/Cultural Heritage in France and Ireland


Edited By Eamon Maher and Eugene O'Brien

This collection of essays explores the concept of patrimoine, a French word used to denote cultural heritage, traditional customs and practices – the Gaelic equivalent is dúchas – and the extent to which it impacts on France and Ireland. Borrowing from disciplines as varied as sociology, cultural theory, literature, marketing, theology, history, musicology and business, the contributors to the volume unearth interesting manifestations of how patrimoine resonates across cultural divides and bestows uniqueness and specificity on countries and societies, sometimes in a subliminal manner.

Issues covered include debt as heritage, Guinness as a cultural icon of «Irishness», faith-based tourism, the Huguenot heritage in Ireland, Irish musical inheritances since Independence, Skellig Michael and the commodification of Irish culture.

With a Foreword by His Excellency M. Stéphane Crouzat, French Ambassador to Ireland, this collection breaks new ground in assessing the close links between France and Ireland, links that will become all the more important in light of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

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4 ‘Protestant Strangers and Others’: Re-imagining the Contribution of French Huguenots and their Descendants to Ireland’s Ancient ‘Patrimoine’ (Tony Kiely)


Tony Kiely

4 ‘Protestant Strangers and Others’: Re-imagining the Contribution of French Huguenots and their Descendants to Ireland’s Ancient ‘Patrimoine’

Coined by François Puthod de Maisonrouge in 1790, the term ‘patrimoine’ proposed that ‘acquired property, works of art, scientific discoveries, literature, and local dialects be preserved as memorials of French history, rather than discarded as the unwanted artefacts of an ancient order’. Of more significance, however, was his desire to invigorate an all-encompassing awareness of the ‘other’, whereby the transformation of ‘patrimoine familial’ to ‘patrimoine national’, while preserving identity, would simultaneously act to foster a broader inclusivity.1 Interestingly, in addressing the annual commemoration service for Huguenots at Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 2001, Canon William Neely of Keady, Co. Armagh, appeared to echo similar sentiments, when opining that, ‘Romantic Nationalism has been the blight, indeed the curse of our people’, and adding, ‘we must all learn to take pride in, and cherish, our alternate heritage’.2

However, one might historically argue that such ‘accommodation’ is not that straightforward, in that what might euphemistically be deemed ‘alternate’ heritage, has, to varying extents, been airbrushed from Ireland’s collective memory, depending on the degree to which its ‘appropriateness’ has been determined within the commemorative imperatives of families, religious orders and educators. For example, by the time Ireland secured her political freedom in 1922, the Catholic population had risen to 95 per cent, resulting in an overwhelming desire for Catholic-led education among←81 | 82→ a recently emboldened Catholic...

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