Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, attended the launch by Mary McAleese of the book Towards Commemoration: Ireland in War and Revolution, 1912-1923, edited by John Horne and Edward Madigan at the Royal Irish Academy. The book is a collection of essays by leading historians, journalists and civic activists debating how to make the most, and avoid the worst, of the centenary decade. Contributors include:

 

Ian Adamson, Tom Hartley, Paul Bew, Fintan O’Toole, Tom Burke, Anne Dolan, David Fitzpatrick, Paul Clark, John Horne, Keith Jeffery, Pierre Joannon, William Mulligan, Brian Hanley, Edward Madigan, Catriona Pennell, Stuart Ward, Jay Winter, Fearghal McGarry, Heather Jones

 

Speaking at the launch, Minister Deenihan said that ‘from throughout these islands, the interest in commemorations is growing… So many have spoken of the potential for commemorations to contribute towards the reconciliation of communities and to enhance mutual understanding’.

 

Minister Deenihan went on to praise the contribution of the McAleeses, saying ‘I would like to acknowledge the sustained commitment and prodigious achievement of our keynote speaker this evening, our former President Mary McAleese and also Dr Martin McAleese.  From the Office of the President and at community level, they dedicated themselves to effecting an improvement in relations and understanding.  For this goal their best resources were their personal characteristics of sincerity, faith and patience.  I am very glad that they are here this evening and that I can acknowledge their work with gratitude’.

 

Minister Deenihan also spoke warmly of the expertise on display in this new publication, saying that ‘the essays are contributed by very distinguished historians and writers and I am confident there will be much to engage our interest… I offer my congratulations and thanks to the contributors, to the editors (Prof John Horne & Dr Edward Madigan), to TCD and the Royal Irish Academy for this welcome and timely contribution to public debate’.

 

One of the editors, Prof. John Horne, says that the book is intended to promote dialogue between historians, professionals and the public sphere as well as with governments. A crucial way in which governments and administrations can better engage is by making relevant archives accessible, not just for historians, but for everyone. A large number of archives related to 1912-23 remain closed in Dublin, London, Northern Ireland and Scotland. ‘There could be no better expression by the four administrations involved of … than jointly establishing the scale of the historical record for the centenary decade, opening it fully, and, where feasible, making it available through a shared web portal’.

 

The launch took place at the Royal Irish Academy on Dawson Street and was attended by the French, Belgian and British ambassadors along with members of the advisory group and the Oireachtas Consultation Group for centenary commemorations.

 

Towards Commemoration is published by the Royal Irish Academy. For details click here.

 

To listen to an interview with the editors, John Horne and Edward Madigan, click here.

 

To watch the speech by Mary McAleese at the event, click here

 

Photos of the Event – Click to View

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