Decade of Commemorations Leveraging the Past to Impact on the Present

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However Republican politicians in Ireland stated that due to unionist non-involvement in centenary committees in the south that identifying ways to commemorate events “in terms of a shared space is quite difficult because there is no engagement with the unionist community as such and while they might be invited to some events, they may attend on a tokenism basis” and that their involvement will be non-existant in 1916 commemorations.8 Further to this it is difficult to identify crossover other than events related to World War 1 “which they feel they have ownership of” and the foundation of organisations such as Cumann Na Mban and the Irish volunteers “do not bear any significance” for the Unionist community. The reality to Senator Daly’s point however is that rather than trying to make these orgs ‘significant’ to the other, parelell narratives should be drawn to ensure equilibrium and peace building is maintained. The foundation of the Ulster Volunteers was counteracted by the foundation of the Irish Volunteers and Cumann Na Mban, a parallel could be drawn with the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland which was revived in 1911 or that Cumann Na Mban was a 32 county organisation. A general approach of an overarching theme of the involvement of ‘women’ in both these orgs could be the neutral attractant. The past should reflect but not be a statement or testament of the present and dominant figures should not be capitalised upon and set against halo-esque light to suggest this is what we aspire to or who we are today as Durkan, M. stated “I think we sometimes have to be careful about how far we mark history as though we’re trying to provide sermons for today. Whether it’s in relation to culture, identity, politics or class or whatever there is a danger of trying to look back at events a 100 years ago and say that particular voice or figure then that’s the us of now, that’s the them of now, that’s that particular group”9.

  1.  Senator Daly, Mark, Fianna Fail, Apr 2014 interviewed in person

  2. Durkan, Mark, SDLP, Interviewed in person Mar 2014

8.3 (2) Crossing Divides and Creating Inclusive Communities with DOC engagement

In the last 50 years the 1916 Rising commemorations have tended to have a military aspect as a central theme with Irish military playing a key part. To soften this community and historical organisations right across the country could be part of a parade and the specific role that some of the leaders had (teachers, members of GAA, Cumann Na Gael etc.) could be represented by those organisations being invited to participate in civic commemorations. Further to this modern day bodies such as An Garda Siochana, Trade Union movement, Writers Museum etc could also be invited to participate. O’Snodaigh, A (Sinn Fein, Mar 2014) stated “the proclamation was a unifying document that socialists, communists, republicans, nationalists and people of no political opinion united around and this could be a central component that could bring communities and individuals together for commemoration purpose and a St Patrick’s parade could have DOC theme ‘Remembering Our Dead’ which would run closely to ‘The Somme’ this could be a whole period of remembrance” 10

However equal narratives can be difficult to discuss as there can be ‘anxiety’ as a particular event “may tend to have more one story then the other” and “narratives generally come from communities themselves”. Therefore the approach is more about how do you tell as many stories as possible “you can have an Easter 1916 story but you can also have a Gallipoli story. The key thing to stop narratives being hijacked is it has to be quite controlled. A professional approach. Certainly down here it’s less of an issue because people are coming at it from what’s a good event, how do we attract tourists, how do we tackle history professionally, up north it’s different because everything gets contested”11 whilst Durkan, M. (SDLP, Mar 2014) stated “So far some of the particular events have been marked in their own way and some people have done them very much in their own colours”.12

  1. O’Snodaigh, Aengus, Sinn Fein, Apr 2014 interviewed in person

  2. Unidentified source Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Apr 2014 interviewed in person

  3. Durkan, Mark, SDLP, Apr 2014 interviewed in person

To find commonalities amongst communities Sherwin, S (Fianna Fail, Mar 2014) suggested “Arbour hill and Bodenstown are celebrated by all communities. The juxtaposing of that has to be the civil rights movement from Derry to Belfast” and that “in every constituency, in every county in Ireland there is a person to be commemorated”13 which could feed into an over-arching national dialogue. However, Sherwin states that there may be some difficulties in dissonant voices wanting the 1916 Rising and Somme commemorations to remain ‘pure’ and that “People who feel they have the clear interest to celebrate 1916, don’t want to get diluted and wrapped up in the British army’s experience of 1916. Unionists in the north they will abhor and continue to abhor the rebellion that took place in 1916. They will never accept it but all we want them to do is accept that it happened”14. Ways to counteract this could include examining Colonel Hallie of the Irish army and his account of the mistakes of both sides during the 1916 rebellion and British army records could be brought in for examination from files such as W035 in Kew Archives, London. Further to this the 1916 Rising commemorations should not suffocate or marginalise the Northern Irish community who do not relate to it as he stated “The Northern Ireland community is mixed and we should not in any way impede their British-ness and their Irish-ness”


13, 14 Sherwin, Sean, Fianna Fail (Apr 2014) interviewed in person

Society north and south may also wish to move from being prisoners of the past to one which commemorates whilst celebrating and thus ‘depoliticise’ a situation by moving from one perspective to another and events that could be delivered could encapsulate or project a ‘commemorating whilst celebrating’ theme “It has been said by others that commemoration is often not so much a case of remembering the past but making a political point about the present. Therefore ‘depoliticising’ issues is challenging. Moving from one perspective to another actually might not necessarily depoliticise things but more so emphasise that different political and cultural perspectives and interpretations of these events that exist. But that’s not a bad thing. It is not asking people to agree or buy into the interpretation of the ‘other side’ – merely helps to builds openness to and perhaps understanding of the views of others” and “the ‘celebration’ part of the theme could therefore be a consequence of inclusive approaches to commemoration – i.e. that such approaches promote tolerance and inclusivity and an acceptance of difference. This is more so an implicit ‘celebration’ of diversity in a modern context rather than a celebration of an actual anniversary. Many people could find the concept of ‘celebrating’ events such as WW1 and Civil War etc. (and the loss of life etc) as a difficult and off-putting concept. If dissonant groups want to display force or put their particular view up a flagpole there is very little that can be done to stop that and it’s probably futile even trying but what we can do is take every effort to present a shared story and shared approach where that can be organised” 14

H.E. Chilcott D. (British Ambassador to Ireland Apr 2014) concurs with this and stated that the British embassy Ireland wishes “to be part of an approach to commemorations which allows people to express themselves in the way they want to but in a context where doing that isn’t seen by other groups as being hostile” 15.

14 Mc Gowan, Stephen, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Northern Ireland (Apr 2015) Interviewed via email

15 Chilcott, Dominick Mr. HE British Ambassador to Ireland (Apr 2014) Interviewed in Person

8.3 (3) Engaging the Diaspora & Attracting GB Tourists to Ireland with DOC events

The key remit of tourism bodies is to encourage international tourists to visit Ireland. Almost 50% of international tourists who visit Ireland are from the GB market (Tourism Ireland, 2014) representing the largest market for Ireland. Therefore identifying whether DOC would be a motivator to visit Ireland is important to tourism bodies looking to develop experiences tourists wish to have in Ireland. More recently the tourism bodies have been examining ‘motivators’ based on why they visited Ireland. Largely they found that the motivations were ‘broad based’, around ‘connecting with one another’ and consisted of ‘couples or small families getting away from a hectic working life’16. Primarily they were coming first and foremost to relax and reconnect and secondary was the place they were in. A sector called culturally curious would be interested Decade of Commemorations as Mathews, P. (Failte Ireland, Apr 2014) stated “It’s not going after them within their niches it’s going after them because they want to be intellectually stimulated and they want to learn more”. Further to this DOC interest may be ‘limited’ and may appeal more to nationals and domestic tourists as “There was a lot of work done around The Lockout. From a commercial view it wasn’t that successful because it was very limited”.17

Irish emigrants are not all from a nationalist persuasion and might identify with an approach which commemorates both the Somme and 1916 Rising in the same brevity. This would assist with marketing events into global destinations and around Britain and Europe. O’Snodaigh. A. (Sinn Fein, Mar 2014) stated “you could start to say what was our contribution to the Battle of the Somme, what was our contribution to 1916” thus creating equilibrium in the narratives. In terms of tourism cooperation the Edinburgh approach discussed earlier in the document could be leveraged to create a user friendly website for all organisations organising events on the island of Ireland or if needed across the islands of Britain and Ireland. This could be managed by Tourism Ireland and be a cooperation project with Visit Britain if needed.

  1. Mathews, Paddy, Failte Ireland (Apr 2014) Interviewed in person

  2. Mathews, Paddy, Failte Ireland (Apr 2014) Interviewed in person

  3. O’Snodaigh, A, Sinn Fein ( Apr 2014) intereviewed in person

Another area that could be examined is the international involvement in the events of the DOC period in Ireland. For instance Australians who were working for the British Army were deployed to resist and hold out the Trinity College garrison and The Sherwood Foresters of Britain also had a prominent role to play in the 1916 Rising. Heritage is a very important part of the tourism proposition but identifying how much of the attractive heritage links to the commemorations is difficult. The question must be asked how much of 1916 is cultural heritage rather than political heritage? Events that occur around DOC will help to enrich the tapestry of experience in Ireland. Though there is a re-focus with the British market taking place at the moment and motivations have been developed such as ‘culturally curious’ which is where intangible heritage such as music could fit into other commentators state “We’re trying to explore the ongoing niche interest in military history. If there is a way without investing too much resources we can mobilise that interest to get them to come over here and visit here and without having somebody explore a British military history concept is very difficult. Spike Island is a good example as 3 narratives will be developed in it; prison, transportation hub and British military base. So you have threads of the British military history which can be wrapped up into the overall proposition that we can offer”18 and physical heritage is the best way to leverage this. People will come and see something and elements that become part of the overall story as “it’s all about making the visit to Ireland culturally richer by developing something there would be a very small niche in British military history trips to Ireland”19. It’s about enriching the experience for the standard tourist. Potential events could be developed for markets overseas such as the American Irish diaspora and there might be micro niche opportunities around Gallipoli which could attract Australians. Though “The numbers will be hundreds or thousands though and not big. Engaging stories, the policy is very much opportunistic but not really worth putting the effort in in terms of money or time or resources” 19.

17, 18, 19 Unidentified Source, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Apr 2014) Interviewed in Person

The approach in NI as to the potential tourism benefits of DOC is more optimistic. The 2012 Executive statement stated “Many of the commemorative anniversaries throughout the decade have international as well as local significance and will inevitably attract higher numbers of visitors to the region” and Mc Gowan, S. (DCAL NI, Apr 2015) stated “I agree with the local and international significance but not fully bought into the ‘inevitably’ remarks. That said, I do believe there can and should be links to tourism strategies. I think these can be best facilitated by links to genealogy and the Diaspora – resources such as PRONI and local libraries already provide significant support to tourists in exploring their family trees and geographic ‘origins’ etc. There is scope to harness DOC events and this period to ‘attract’ interest among the Diaspora in finding out more about their relatives/ancestors in Ireland who lived through these times”20. Whilst Durkan, M (SDLP, Mar 2014) stated “Maybe there is a possible danger that a lot of this ends up being seen as an Irish decade of centenaries and the British end isn’t full engaged or examined. I find in London the embassy is doing a series of events and lectures but it’s very much being done from an historical perspective. One of the things that I think is absolutely important in this is that people should not see any contrivance around how the decade is approached” 21.

Across Ireland there is also a silent history of physical (built) heritage that is linked to a colonial past such as former British ports and war graves, Anglo Irish houses and Orange halls which may be of interest to the GB tourist. In terms of DOC however the GB tourist is more interested in visiting “destinations outside the UK and Ireland cos that’s where the battles were fought” 22 but “where there could be a lot of interest. Is where you have things to see on large scale or in a spectacular location. Where you can include those as part of an offer you make. So for example down in Cobh they are doing up Spike Island to make it a tourism and cultural centre and I think it’s very special because it’s in a very special location in the harbour and they have these wonderful old 19th century and earlier military and prison buildings and you know proper heavy artillery ordinance which they are doing up” 23
20 Mc Gowan, Stephen, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (Apr 2015) Interviewed in Person

21 Durkan, Mark SDLP (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

22, 23 Chilcott, D. H.E. British Ambassador to Ireland (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

Local communities can also take ownerships of heritage projects and renovate and rediscover physical heritage which might be worthwhile developing policy around so that capacity in communities is built to enable this. However the tourist numbers who would primarily visit for those sites would be small therefore as Chilcott, D. highlights above the package would have to be part of a bigger offering.
A recommendation by the researcher is that a county by county audit of all British military and police or substantial buildings to be undertaken across island. Further research could be done by examining W035 Files in Kew Archives which has aa details of all files related to Ireland from the 17th century to 1922 and also contains files on all the former British military sites across Ireland. A possible funding stream to develop capital infrastructure in Ireland that is formerly British infrastructure could be to identify if the Heritage Lottery and Irish government could co fund renovation and restoration projects for equity stake in tourism revenue or if this could reflow back into communities for local development projects.
Another way to connect DOC to key markets such as US/GB market could be to communicate and connect stories to nationals from these countries told by prominent key figures of today. Stories of sports men who were First World War soldiers could be connected to Irish sportsmen with large US following such as Rory Mc Ilroy. Relating Doc to the international community in Ireland can also be delivered by the project that will see the 1916 proclamation being “translated into all the languages of the world”24 and communicating to nationals of other countries in events at embassies and consulates that “what the leaders of 1916 were seeking to attain which was equal rights, equal opportunities regardless of religion or gender”25 which are ideals that all countries can strive to uphold. What is contested however could be the involvement of British military in events or re-enactments as this is deemed to be not appropriate at the moment or too sensitive. O’Snodaigh, A. (Sinn Fein, Mar 2014) stated “Diplomats may represent their countries and all diplomats of all countries that 1916 touched should be invited”.26

24, 25 Senator Mark Daly, Fianna Fail (Mar 2014) Interviewed in person

26 O’Snodaigh, Aengus, Sinn Fein (Mar 2014) Interviewed in person

8.3 (4) Cross Border Cooperation and Joint Education Initiatives

Timothy & Boyd (P. 259, 2003) state “Through education dominant institutions can based on their ideological goals, reveal only what is congenial and disregard what is inconvenient or what opposes what they want the public to know” Therefore an argument exists for a Board of History to be established for the island and joint education materials to be developed for the schools of the island the content of which should be in consensus by all stakeholders. Further to this “One of the primary methods used to exclude certain pasts is through education and official curricula” therefore it is important that education materials such as materials related to both traditions; Orange Order Songbook, old Irish ballad books, 1916 song books, Ulster Scots folk books etc. are examined and revised to be jointly taught in schools and community bands. In the north of Ireland Protestants from the Woodvale area of Belfast were mobilised for the 1916 events that took place in Belfast 27 Ironically this area is now predominantly seen as a ‘UDA’ stronghold and an interesting discussion could take place with the community based there around the role of the tenants in that area in 1916 in Belfast. The role of the Irish language could also be discussed as this cultural medium crossed both identities in the past. Other ways to engage communities and schools in particular could be essay competitions with just the title ‘1916’ therefore different viewpoints could be evident.27 The national broadcaster could also play a role in allowing neutral panels be represented by all viewpoints and debate the key historic points from both a unionist and nationalist perspective which could assess how their communities view the Rising today or how their ancestors viewed the Rising. The setting up of a ‘joint fund’ that allows cooperation by both identities would also enable alternative perspectives to be equally represented.28


26 ,27, 28 O’Snodaigh, Aengus, Sinn Fein ( Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

Other events that could join the narratives cross border include holding a conference on The Rising with the view from the north of that Rising reflected in that narrative “So far we have had that discourse the process of the 3rd home rule bill and the parallel process of the solemn league and covenant, you have one, you have the other. Equally the formation of the UVF and the formation of the Irish volunteers, they were balancing out each other effectively. You do it by parity of acknowledgement”29. There is potential to model the 1916 year events on The Gathering model but the issue is that events could be politically charged and could antagonise relations rather than further enrich them. However, for value for money it may be necessary to utilise existing festivals and events and ‘theme’ them around 1916 as stated by one respondent “I think we will find there will be a lot of events that normally punctuate the year and are programmed in, redesigned or remoulded a little bit to aim at a particular market with an interest around whatever commemorative event it is” 30. However an unidentified source Unionist community stated events are not necessarily the driver and that topic content and debate is more important “The bigger issue that is waiting to be met head on isn’t designing events about participation and history it’s about asking what does it mean today, so far no one has elucidated to what the Easter rising of 1916 should mean to northerners either Protestant or Catholic and the same must be said of the Somme of its relevance to today to people from the Republic”31 and that there is “a need for parallels in a whole 32 county context that was part of a big commonwealth. For example who were the parallel politicians etc.?”32 In terms of education a user friendly publication of the original agreement (GFA) including all what has occurred since could be made available to the public as a foundation to show progression “The events of the north should have their own integrity and not cancel each other out. It must be backed up by written pamphlets and books, I would like to see a boxset and little books that could be elaborated on later and materials for the schools, community groups etc. the whole country has to be educated. The emphasis should be on that it is “not their history or our history but our shared history”33 ________________________________________________________________________________ 29 O’Donnchu, Niall, Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person 30 Mathews, Paddy, Failte Ireland (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person 31,32 Unidentified Unionist Source (Apr 2015) Interviewed in Person

33 Sherwin, Sean Fianna Fail (Apr 2014) Interviewed in Person

An unidentified Source in DTTAS stated “In terms of cross border linkages between the cities I don’t think there is a natural connection. The Wild Atlantic way connects into The Causeway coast so Derry’s place is already on the route. Belfast/Dublin axis certainly there is a potential there. The big thing in the north is that Titanic is getting the interest from Dublin. There might be enough Belfast and Dublin crossovers but at that stage they had different stories”. Whilst Mathews, P. (Failte Ireland, Mar 2014) stated “we’re looking at various ways of making better linkages between the two sides of the border. If we’re to affect any difference at community level it starts with the economic opportunities that are there. It’s about creating economic opportunities for businesses and communities to work together in collaboration”. Tourism projects around common themes, allowing creation of trails and fostering joint marketing cooperation could start with something as simple as whiskey. Black Bush, Cork, Bushmills on Causeway Coast, Dublin’s iconic whisky distillery Jameson’s. Trails could be created to bring tourists around the island to these venues. A tourism project could be based on the success of getting together everything to do with the decade and as each year goes passes, commemorations, festivals and various other things that are tourism related could grow from that. “The detail is authorised by the different people who would have written their chapters. One chapter by the neutral people how they felt how they were destroyed by everything, one by the loyalists, one by the nationalists etc. Each of those narratives, each of those stories accounts have been approved over the years we are now living through have been approved as the authentic best description of that period. Based on facts”34

Another tool that will be leveraged as a neutral medium throughout DOC is culture and the creative resources. Culture can transcend borders but has been used in the north of Ireland in particular to divide communities and Irish government officials stated “When one gets into identity politics one is inviting trouble. We recognise culture as something that is very amorphous. In the expression of any culture you have the coal-essence of many cultures. In today’s environment where we are all so connected the notion that you can box any particular culture for cultural reasons is simply laughable. As an expression of identity absolutely I understand that, our job is not to make the boxes but to ensure that there is that dialogue between the traditions and that we draw as many communities in as possible. One can’t expect 100% engagement but at least as somebody trying to put a programme together, that you’re very conscious of not creating those pigeonholes”35

8.3 (5) Potential Tourism Projects

DOC has been examined by Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland to determine if tourism potential exists. Largely they have concluded that there is ‘little or no potential’36. This is due to that outside the island the events do not have much meaning ‘except as part of the overall Irish story’37. Secondly it could alienate the largest tourism market for Ireland, GB and thirdly it is not Ireland’s DOC but Europe’s and there will be more distinguishable locations to be such as Moscow in 2017, Flanders in August 2014. Irelands minor events do not compare to these large stories the sources states “Obviously where there are events that are developed that will engage people in terms of what our tourism proposition is we can take the opportunity and some particular niche ones”38. In terms of tourism and focusing on the key areas that can achieve commercial potential the approach by the tourism bodies is “to take as ruthless an attitude”39 as possible. The key aim is to bring tourists into the country who will stay a long period and spend and political tourism in that context is ‘very, very marginal’40. Within political tourism there are tourists “who are interested in the political story as they are interested in other aspects of the culture”41 but that does not justify investing money or resources. The tourism bodies also have to evaluate the problems that could arise with this strand of tourism and tourist as it could generate trouble. It is also questionable whether political tourists will ‘come to Ireland where you got thrown out and you didn’t fight any major battles or you go where millions of British people were killed in Flanders’42


34 Sherwin, Sean, Fianna Fail (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

35 O’Donnchu, Niall Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 Unidentified source Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

In terms of ‘intangible heritage’ such as community music it is important to hone in on what engages the potential visitor. Tourism generally is based around what people are ‘familiar with’43 in Ireland this could be leprechauns and sheep and it is important to ‘keep a focus on what people recognise you for’44. The aim of the tourism bodies is to ‘capture attention’ of potential tourists in Berlin or Denver or elsewhere that might stimulate an interest in visiting Ireland. The question is how do you turn intangible heritage (community music) into a commercial proposition that could impact on tourism? Tourists also want to feel safe in a destination. Another way to develop a destination is by creating an ‘iconic attraction (Cultural)’46 which is composed of ‘a series’47of attractions. This why the Wild Atlantic Way concept emerged.

In terms of cross border tourism development Sherwin S. (Fianna Fail, Apr 2014) stated “If you were to ask any 10 people in Dublin how many times have they have gone and visited the north you might get 1 or 2 out of 10 and if they did visit it was for shopping. We saw first-hand the twenty foot 30 foot high peace walls and you say to yourself how can this be rectified? We had no answers. On the other hand if we were able to meet on a return let’s say our community is a microcosm of any community in Dublin. If there was a group of people from the north to come and meet people in Dublin and that type of two way dialogue that would begin a process of people going and people coming. A tourism project is not just and shouldn’t be just people in the south going north for a weekend or a day trip. I’m in an active retirement group and we have done 2 trips but we didn’t go up a meet anyone cos who were you to meet?” The focus therefore should really be on the development of adequate tourism products that can deliver that longer stay and bring people into communities not just tourism hotspots”48


43,44,45,46,47 Unidentified Source Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

48 Sherwin, Sean Fianna Fail (Apr 2014) Interviewed in Person

8.3 (5) Single Identity Venues and Single Identity Events

Single identity venues and the creation of ‘shared spaces’ remains one of the challenges to peace building in Northern Ireland and the border counties. There is potential for DOC to deliver events at these spaces to assist with breaking down pre-conceptions and existing connotations. Associations could be made in a religious context such the Colmcille/Iona connection which predates the Troubles and Plantation of Ulster. Spaces that could be opened to events could include Derry and the city walls (predominantly seen as Protestant space until recently), Belfast City Cemetery (Predominantly seen as a Catholic space as it is in CNR ‘territory’ but more prominent unionists and commonwealth soldiers from early 20th century are buried there), Stormont (Predominantly seen as a Protestant space in which the CNR community do not recognise as being a shared space). Prominent sites that are associated with the political heritage of 100 years ago can also be utilised for events during Decade of Commemorations in Ireland and a number of significant restoration projects are underway such as the GPO, Kilmainham jail, Richmond Barracks, Kilmainham Jail and Courthouse, Teach an Piarsaigh and Sean Mc Dermott’s house. Archive projects are also under development around the military history archives, the military services pensions. Unfortunately unless a wide approach is taken to the interpretation for these sites they could run the risk of becoming solely identifiable as ‘nationalist’ commemorative sites. Consultations have taken place with local historical and community groups49 but how extensively the unionist and British community in Ireland have been consulted in undeterminable thus far in this research. Further to this it is questionable whether event delivery should be applied in a neutral way which promotes mutual understanding and reconciliation or whether single identity events should go ahead and this affect the overall community and “It is not possible or indeed desirable to set an edict on how all events ‘must’ be delivered. An inclusive tone and leadership can be set but some groups/communities will develop events to commemorate anniversaries in their own way or preferences…regardless of what government or other organisations advocate. Some single identity events (perhaps an outcome in practice if not by design) may well still adhere to inclusive principles – e.g. highlighting that different interpretations exist etc.” 50

49 Mathews, Paddy Failte Ireland (Apr 2014) Interviewed in Person

50 Mc Gowan, Stephen Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (Apr 2015) Interviewed via email

Governments role to oversee commemorations appears to be limited and more of acting from a distance whilst ensuring that state commemorations are done in the correct fashion as Durkan, M (Mar 2014) stated “The government has taken a higher approach but it’s been careful to take responsibility for saying right we’re having a select list of events and all other events don’t count. That would be completely the wrong thing”51 which is being both inclusive to those who wish to commemorate in a single identity fashion and those who wish to commemorate with all the community in town. The government therefore in NI does not want to condone those who celebrate in a dissonant manner or those who do not. They wish to allow all groups the space to commemorate rather than ‘regulate’ DOC themed events “because by the nature of these things many of these events are going to manage and organise themselves”52 and “the important thing about decade of commemorations it’s not that ministers have said this or ministers have said that, it’s that broadly that all the parties have said we want to approach this in a responsible manner, we want to respect the seriousness of history but we also want to respect the sensitivities that are around that”53.

The tourism bodies approach appears to be that they have learnt from the past through projects such as the Battle of the Boyne centre and where there is a particular narrative, thread through the various minefields that are contained within that even though these events or interpretations will be seen to be a single identity story by a large number of the community on the island “It’s about getting the story that is acceptable to everybody, the shared story, without neutralising its interest”54. At ground level there may also need to be a ‘will’ to enable commemorations to become tourism and community focused events and actions undertaken to deliver this. An unidentified source in the Unionist community stated “I think this will be one of the big challenges throughout the period I do wonder if we will be left asking the question do they need to be community focused? If the will is not there why do it? Why try to create a false environment it would be so dilute…It can only be done by building confidence between and within communities”55.
51, 52, 53 Durkan, Mark SDLP (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

54 Mathews, Paddy Failte Ireland (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

55 Unidentified Source Unionist Community (Apr 2015) Interviewed in Person

Therefore confidence and capacity building remains tantamount to ensuring the legacy that is left after DOC is positive but this should also be brokered and managed carefully to ensure that capacity building does not strengthen or further polarise identities into their own ‘corner’. Inclusivity appears to be the answer from the authorities as to how to bridge divides and the Irish governments approach is to ensure a balanced programme “Your dealing in the same period with the signing of the solemn league of covenant so what we were very keen to do was to engage with the entirety of the communities. This will run right through the programme that there is an Ulster voice that one can hear throughout the programme whatever that Ulster voice is saying and equally there is a Southern voice and an English voice and a European voice”56. The unidentified source in Unionist community communicated that people in the south appear to be more reciprocal to engaging people in the north in ROI commemorations and stated “It is quite interesting the open-ness of people involved in commemorative events so far in the Republic to people from the unionist tradition to coming down and joining in. I think we’re already seeing evidence of an inclusive approach I’m sure that is the answer. The answer is making everybody feel involved not excluding anybody or generating resentment or making people feel somehow they are less valid members of society because they see things through a different lens”57. Combined with this is the multicultural element that has emerged in Ireland in the last 10 years. Reaching out to the new communities who have settled in the island of Ireland in the last decade is also a challenge. These communities will find DOC events mystifying and spectacular possibly all at once but will not understand the divide caused by history between the traditions on the island. A way of reaching new communities could be explore what narratives were happening with those communities in Ireland at the time and examining the 1916 Rising in the wider context of WW1 and all the global communities involved in those events some of whose descendants may now be resident on the island of Ireland.

56 O’Donnchu, Niall Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

57 Unidentified Source in the Unionist Community (Apr 2015) Interviewed in Person

8.3 (7) Including Unionist perspectives in 1916 commemorations without Creating False or Bogus Symmetry

Whilst a challenge exists to ensure that the 2016 commemorations represent all denominations, traditions, heritages and political viewpoints on the island of Ireland it is most likely that the event will largely be viewed as a nationalist/republican commemoration. To counteract this work is needed to engage the unionist community in the events and bring dissonant narratives into the course of dialogue as one unionist stated “I think it’s difficult to engage loyalists about Easter 1916 because they are very focused by the First World War there isn’t much room in their narrative for the other event”58 but that opportunities to open up the dialogue around WW1 and nationalist involvement in this exist “the nationalist community has a much greater space of understanding of the First World War. There were 42,000 Irish men on the Western front, loyalists trying to understand the action of 1700 people in Dublin when many more people can trace contact through the First World War then The Rising. There is a much bigger question for nationalists as to why Grandad was in the Western front and not Dublin”59. However creating parallels could be perceived by some to be creating false or bogus symmetry but the source from the Unionist community stated “It puts the Republican perspective into context. A lot of the symbology and emotion that follows on from these events have got wrapped in emotion and has lost its context. Redmond disappears, only by doing that can you explain to loyalists in Belfast. You mustn’t allow small minorities to dictate what the commemorations can mean for a big country. What are we commemorating needs to be asked. How much do people want to own the glory and heroism of 1916? We also have to allow for the dissenters and liberal middle to discuss”60.

58, 59, 60 Unidentified Source from Unionist Community (Apr 2015) Interviewed in Person

This view is juxtaposed by Durkan, M (Mar 2014) who states the opposite approach should be applied and that lessons have been learnt from peace building and building credibility with the public to date and that “you can’t have something that looks at something with a nationalist angle unless you also balance it with some other event that also has a unionist angle. We can’t get into the false symmetry like we have with the Irish language and Ulster Scots language cos people just don’t believe that”61 and Daly, M. (Fianna Fail Mar 2014) stated “I’m not too sure whether an event that should be celebrated should be neutral. You cannot be neutral on whether you were for or against the 1916 rising, it’s not like this is an event let’s just talk about it. You either celebrate it or you don’t and if you celebrate something you are therefore not neutral about it”62.

Further to this unionists may view the formation of Northern Ireland as the cornerstone of the Decade of Commemorations period and in reference to Nelson Mc Causland’s speech in 2010 the voice stated “Unionism has every right to view through a narrow lens the centenary of Northern Ireland that is after all the notion of what they fought for in the world war, it’s what they won through the settlement and it’s what they protected ever since and they have to take the opportunity to reflect upon that for what it might mean for the 2nd century but equally nationalism has to reflect on what that might mean for them to as to what it means for not being part of an all-Ireland”63. Daly, M. (Fianna Fail Mar 2014) suggests that learning should be brought to the attention of Unionists in that “We weren’t against Unionism or the British empire we were for equal rights, equal opportunities, that’s what we are celebrating in the 1916 proclamation” and Durkan, M. (SDLP Apr 2014) suggests that to include Unionist perspectives in 1916 and retell ‘lost stories’ that “it’s a matter of reflecting what were the perceptions and reactions within unionism in Ireland at that time and what were the feelings. Rather than trying from now trying to project something else back onto that time or trying to project more of a direct unionist involvement in or engagement with Easter 1916 then maybe had been there” without it being contrived or false.

61 Durkan, Mark SDLP (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

62 Daly, Mark Senator (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

63 Unidentified Unionist Source (Mar 2014) Interviewed in person

There are also a number of committees that have been formed at parliamentary level to discuss the history of the Decade of Commemorations but even though the Northern parties have been given the right of hearing in them there has been a limited involvement from the unionist community in the DOC committee in Southern Ireland. However the remit of the committees should not in the opinion of Durkan, M. (Apr 2014) a ‘politbureau for history where people are sitting down and saying right this is the received history. We’re allowing you that event if you allow us this event. It’s not forcing anybody else to acknowledge any aspect of history they don’t particularly want to acknowledge”64.

Another contentious point is examining stories around the RIC “many of whom members were Catholics” 65 and British military involvement in 1916 to which Durkan, M. (Mar 2014) states “that is all part of the mix and reality and complexity of what went on. In some cases there might not be a lot of material around that as people might want there to be. I don’t think we should get bogged down in any one thing and say we haven’t dealt with this unless we have looked fully at that”66 but that “the important thing is to make sure that those things that are particular constituencies to look at don’t have this sense of contest and rivalry around how they find their space now”67.

Other stakeholder opportunities for cross island/cross border development in the context of heritage could include partnership opportunities such as cross promoting each islands heritage cards such as English Heritage/OPW Heritage Card/local authority’s heritage cards to tourists who are travelling to each island. A joint marketing initiative could be established and a bundle could be created available at a discounted rate for international tourists. Building brand awareness overseas could also be developed as an innovative partnership. Cross marketing to audiences outside of the islands could be jointly delivered through Destination Marketing Offices outside of the British and Irish islands. Summing up stakeholder cooperation however as long as a border remains on the island the people will remain divided psychologically and physically. Foley, McGillivray & Mc Pherson (2012 P.12) stated “When the needs of the nation change, or the perceived needs of the nation diverge, the collective memory adjusts or the nation splits” therefore the emphasis must be on trying to find commonalities and initiatives that can foster cooperation to reunify people across island.

64, 65, 66. 67 Durkan, Mark SDLP (Mar 2014) Interviewed in Person

Foley, Mc Gillivray & Mc Pherson further stated (2012 P.13) “For a society to exist, not only must it possess unity in outlook but these memories and ideas must be constantly repeated and re-enacted, so that they retain their meaning” so if symbols and memories and ideas are built upon in separate jurisdictions the emphasis must be on finding the commonalities and shared emphasis in those symbols so that the whole of society on the island can take joint ownership of its cultural and historic and social capital.

8.4 Conclusion and summary

This chapter has set the broad context in which this research was based. The focus of the chapter was to provide the reader with an insight into the thinking and voices of those mostly closely linked to commemorations and the ground level delivery in Ireland (north and south). The next chapter draws conclusions and drafts recommendations.

Chapter 9

9.1 Conclusion and Recommendations

The research finds that opportunities exist at both ground level and in government for cooperation and collaboration around themes stemming from the Decade of Commemorations. Intangible cultural heritage at ground level leveraged largely by marching bands has potential to impact on community cohesion if commonalities are identified in historical heritage resources common to both traditions and are leveraged to create shared works and projects. The outputs could then be showcased against a backdrop of built heritage from the island and could act as a resource for schools and groups across the island and performance opportunities could be generated. Frameworks and policies need to be put in place by both governments on ways to bring communities into shared spaces using these shared historical resources.

In terms of objective 1 leveraging intangible and built heritage for DOC events, capital investment is needed to realise this opportunity but development of ‘experiential’ tourism offerings in the form of rural tourism hubs, innovation centres with a performance space at Grianan Aileach have potential to further cross border cooperation, build destination awareness of the north west region and social and community cohesion in a border corridor. A case can also be made to develop an application for World Heritage Status around the Grianan Aileach site. In terms of military and niche political tourists and attracting same to Ireland, market opportunities exist to develop tourism offerings around silent and under developed built heritage on the island that exist in spectacular locations particularly for the GB market. Further examination is necessary in respect of single identity venues and venues that stem from British heritage across the island of Ireland and ways to engage and leverage communities and these built heritage assets. The researcher recommends a county by county audit of all British military and police or substantial buildings be undertaken across the island which could be assisted by examining the W035 Files in Kew Archives which have details of all files related to Ireland from the 17th century to 1922. These files also contain details of all the former British military sites and infrastructure across Ireland. A possible funding stream to develop capital infrastructure in Ireland that is formerly British lineage could be a Heritage Lottery and Irish government co-operated fund for renovation and restoration projects. Government could then take an equity stake in tourism revenue or if a cooperative model could be established with communities in ownership and income could reflow back into communities for local development projects.

Dissonant heritage has the potential to create havoc due to select commemorations being delivered during Decade of Commemorations. Approaches by government to deal with this could include generation of policy that aims to develop a shared heritage and identifying commonalities in historical heritage materials and mythologies that are associated with the events of the DOC period. This could be assisted by the development of a board of history for the island or cross islands. Outreach work must be a strong component as a way to deliver and develop outputs and build capacity amongst communities. Outreach could take place through community cafes and civic forums which allow dissonant voices a platform. Contested histories have the potential to be developed as local level tourism resources which could therein fit into a macro national narrative to generate cohesion and avoid ‘identity crisis’ perceptions being generated which could affect the international image of the country. Trails and narratives around key individuals such as heroes and villains stemming from the DOC period could be developed at county and local level and therein connected into a macro national narrative. The commemorations during 1916 could be styled as “myths, memories and symbols” and an analysis and examination of common heritage be undertaken to generate shared resources. Myths such as ‘Inion Na Heireann’ and ‘Sons of Ulster’ could be married and jointly discussed and used as a marketing tool by tourism agencies to encourage daughters and sons to return home during the commemoration period.

In terms of objective B trends that could be leveraged for DOC events include hallmark events and community events. Festivalisation of cities should also be considered as a theme as should a ‘city as a canvas’ to develop events that will have a commercial impact through DOC period. Community events such as ‘twinning’s’ could also be leveraged to assist with community cohesion and building links on a cross border basis. Conferences, seminars and lectures that examine past against present and carry themes such as ‘identity’ and sense of place which are contentious subject matter to society at present. Gathering style events that allow ephemera to be presented by the public also present potential event content. Digital technology should be leveraged to engage Generation Y extensively and connections could be developed with the arts and technology community to generate new ideas and concepts that use DOC themes as a foundation.

Social media such as YouTube present opportunities for platforms where conference, seminar and lecture content could be broadcast through but effective seeding campaigns would need to be undertaken to ensure the promotion is effective. Promotional content must also be developed to be compatible with Smart phones to leverage the exponential growth in this medium and a promotional app developed for DOC events such as the 2016 commemorations could assist with reaching generation x and y. Online streaming of events and co-production of events and drama or documentary content between the BBC and RTE could present opportunities to market 2016 into the GB market. Technology SMEs in Ireland could also be encouraged to act as sponsors by providing high profile platforms where revised and modernised historic materials could be showcased through. Other promotion could be developed by engaging celebrities with connections to Ireland as endorsers of the DOC events and campaigns which bring the world home for Ireland’s heritage.

In terms of meeting objective c and engaging the Irish Diaspora in Britain the researcher recommends government incorporate the 1916 commemoration events into existing marketing programmes rather than develop a new standalone programme for the Diaspora at events during 2016 as Diaspora express that they wish to commemorate ‘locally’ in Britain rather then return home. Further to this the researcher recommends development of a ‘Genealogy Week’ with roadshows in Britain as part of ‘Heritage Month’. In some cases it may be worthwhile undertaking reverse genealogy and connecting prominent or hidden characters from the period to their relatives of today. A recommendation is also made for capital development of a large scale civic memorial with reflection space for Diaspora and domestic tourists to visit. Diaspora also expressed that history be simplified and the researcher recommends generation of an easy to follow publication which is animation or other light story board mediums based which could be disseminated to households across the island and across Irish centres and communities in Britain, US, Canada, Australia etc. The researcher also recommends holding a cross island conference on the decade with representatives of political parties from IRL and GB with an audience generated from the communities of Irish in Britain in London. Development of an Irish History month similar to Black history month should also be run across schools and civic and community forums. The researcher recommends a joint board of history between the islands and north/south which could jointly develop school curriculum materials and a programme of events to be delivered and organised at local level across UK. The development of a drama or TV programme that re-runs events of the time side by side from an English and Irish person’s perspective should also be considered for balance. Academic institutions on both sides could also examine the period jointly by twinning of universities and developing joint academic conferences. The researcher also recommends large oral history projects to be initiated across the UK and Ireland styled upon Stephen Spielberg’s database of Holocaust survivors. An Irish story with 3 narratives, unionist, nationalist, and dissenter could give a balanced perspective and viewpoint on history. Further to this a database of relatives could be established during decade of commemorations period and a call put out globally for submissions of stories via a portal and this could then act as an archive.

In terms of meeting objective d building stakeholder cooperation the researcher has included the research conducted to date in the thesis governments can cooperate cross border or cross island in a range of areas such as education, community development and furthering peace building, sharing knowledge and resources to revise or modernise historical works separated by tradition, tourism initiatives and in particular joint events, built heritage and development of signature tourism projects in border region on the island of Ireland, sharing resources and archives, developing documentaries and media outputs on a cross island/cross border co production basis, cross marketing each region in the respective opposite regions to help place marketing, undertaking analysis of the size of military tourists in GB that might wish to visit key sites in Ireland. Also examining the silent history of physical (built) heritage that is linked to a colonial past such as former British ports and war graves, Anglo Irish houses and Orange halls which may be of interest to the GB tourist. In light of recent terrorist attacks in Tunisia GB tour operators and marketers may also wish to highlight destinations along the west coast of Ireland which have similar quality of beaches and which would be safer for their citizens then some areas of the world at present. Failte/Tourism Ireland could also develop a package with NITB and, Visit Scotland/Visit Britain to bring tourists from the islands to other destinations in the island groupings. Cross Island wide trails around neutral mediums such as whiskey/breweries etc. could also be developed and marketed overseas. The governments could also establish a cooperation fund for community initiatives which restore silent or dilapidated physical and built heritage.

The researcher wishes to thank all those who helped her to compile this document. It is by no means complete and further work at developing more in depth event proposals and frameworks will continue onwards.

Chapter 10: Literature Review

The core themes that I am conducting research under

Politics and history of events such as Easter 1916, The Somme and Gallipoli in the 1915/1916 period to provide a context and background to the decade of commemorations and explore and formulate content for events such as conferences that could be delivered. This includes analysis of academic literature, private papers of soldiers from the period and cultural materials from the period.

Events management and sponsorship theme which will review academic literature, articles, sponsorships proposals and marketing templates. This will assist me in examining case studies and emerging models/trends in the event field. Current best practice will be examined to assist with the devisal of an events strategy and proposal for events that could be delivered. This will also assist me in identifying potential funding streams for event

Diaspora and heritage arts theme which will explore academic literature, articles and cultural materials related to identity and heritage from the island of Ireland and Britain. I will also develop case studies within this theme to support research and argument. This will also allow me to build knowledge of heritage arts that could be utilised as content for commemoration events. I may also examine commemoration as part of heritage supply and demand but evidence thus far is suggesting that without a strong marketing programme to invigorate and engage the public, commemoration is not at the forefront of themes that encourage the public to attend civic events.

Government Publications and Documents theme. This will assist me in examining the British and Irish governments approach to commemorations and how this could influence or impact on stakeholder relations between the islands on a north/south/east/west basis.

Community relations and peace building theme which will review academic and industry literature to give a context to peace building and where current practice stands on key issues such as the flags crisis which could impact on commemorative events taking place without friction in communities.

Literature Reference list:

Background and Context to Easter 1916, Somme 1916, Gallipoli 1915

Author (Anon. ca 1916) “Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook Easter 1916” Publisher Weekly Irish Times

Author (Anon.) “Poems and Songs of Easter Week No. 1” (1916) Publisher; Unknown

Author (Anon) “The 1916 song book” (1916) Publisher: Irish book bureau

Cronin Sean “Kevin Barry” (1965) Publisher: The National Publications Committee, Cork & Clo Saoirse – Irish Freedom Press (2001)

Gallagher, Frank “The Four Glorious Years” (2005) Publisher: Blackwater Press

Githens Mazer Johnathan (2006) “Myths and memories of the Easter Rising cultural and political nationalism in Ireland” Publisher: Irish Academic Press

Jeffrey, Keith (2006) “The GPO and the Easter Rising” Publisher: Irish Academic Press

Mac Lochlainn Piaras F “Last Words” (1990) Publisher: The Office of Public Works

Thompson Irwin William (1967) “The imagination of an insurrection Dublin, Easter 1916 a study of an ideological movement” Publisher: Oxford University Press

Event Management & Sponsorship Research

Allen, Johnny, O’Toole, William, Harris, Robert, Mc Donnell Iain “Festival & Special Event Management” (2011) Publisher John Wiley & Sons Australia

Bolan, P., Kearney, M. and Smyth, I. “The impact of Social Media on Tourism Events: Exploring and harnessing the Web 2.0 landscape to maximise success” (2012) International Conference on Tourism and Events: Opportunities, Impact and Change, Europa Hotel, Belfast. Ulster Business School. 8 pp. [Conference contribution]

Foley, M, Mc Gillivray D, Mc Pherson G “Event Policy from Theory to Strategy” (2012) Publisher Routledge

Landorf, Christine (2009) “Managing for sustainable tourism: a review of six cultural World Heritage Sites” Journal of Sustainable Tourism Volume 17Issue 1, 2009

Luton Irish Forum Review and Audience Feedback summary – Pauline Lavin

Marvasti, Amit B (2004) “Qualitative Research in Sociology” Publisher: Sage Publishing

Pickering, Michael “Research methods for Cultural Studies” (2008) Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

Quinn, B (2013) “Key concepts in event management” Publisher SAGE

Swarbrooke, John “Sustainable tourism Management” (1999) Publisher CABI

Zherdov, Nikolay (2014) “Festivalisation as a creative city strategy” Publisher: Open University of Catalonia Doctoral Working Paper

Diaspora, Heritage Arts, Tourism

Aughey, A. (2010) “National identity, allegiance and constitutional change in the United Kingdom” Nations and Nationalism 16 (2), 2010, 335 - 353

Aughey, Arthur (2010) “Anxiety and Injustice: the anatomy of contemporary English Nationalism” Nations and Nationalism 16 (3), 506 - 524

BBC “The History of Irish rock” 10pm, Mar 19th, 2015

BBC News “Islamic Takeover Plot” (7th March 2014) Accessed: 15th May 2015

Chhabra, Deepak (2012) “A present centred Dissonant Heritage Management Model” Annal of Tourism Research Vol 39 No, 3 P. 1701 – 1705, 2012

Cooke, Pat “The containment of heritage setting limits to the growth of heritage in Ireland” (2003) The Policy Institute Trinity College, Dublin

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