Knowing and forgetting the easter 1916 rising

Cian O’Driscoll*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The centenary of the Easter 1916 Rising was a source of both celebration and no little anxiety in Ireland. On the one hand, the centenary provided a welcome opportunity for Irish people to take stock of the violent past that optimists hope it has recently left behind. On the other hand, it signalled an occasion for a form of legitimacy contest as various groups, the Irish government among them, jostled to present themselves as the true heirs of the Rising. Sparked by these controversies, this paper asks what meaning the Rising holds for contemporary Ireland. Is it a sacrifice to be redeemed, a patrimony to be claimed, or a past to be shucked off? The answer to this question, it argues, will have a significant bearing on how Ireland faces an uncertain future in an increasingly dangerous world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Journal of Politics and History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


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