Who control historical commemoration?

The Irish Story, a great website, currently features an opinion piece by Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc that raises thought-provoking questions about how history is remembered and celebrated. At issue are plans to redevelop a memorial of the 1920 Kilmichael Ambush site in Cork so that it commemorates both sides in this key battle in the Irish War of Independence.

The idea of developing Kilmichael into a heritage site and tourist attraction has been widely welcomed. However the idea that this development will include a formal commemoration of the [Royal Irish Constabulary] Auxiliaries has met with strong opposition. This controversy has arisen at the beginning of the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ and raises important questions about the nature and politics of commemoration and who and what we commemorate.

The piece is worth the read and is beginning to attract an interesting string comments. This isn’t the first time such issues have been raised in Ireland, and it surely will not be the last.

Kilmichael Ambush Memorial in Cork

Kilmichael Ambush Memorial in Cork