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Roy Foster: Ireland: Memory, Commemoration and Revolution 1916-2016

Professor Roy Foster FBA, Carroll Professor of Irish History, University of Oxford

‘Ireland: Memory, Commemoration and Revolution 1916-2016’

Recorded at the British Academy Soirée, Tuesday 28 June 2016

In Ireland, history, memory and various forms of deliberate amnesia are inextricably intertwined. The revolutionary decade of 1912-22 opened with the passing of a Home Rule Act and the ensuing paramilitary resistance from Ulster Unionists, and closed with the creation of two new Irish states, the twenty-six county Free State, self-governed within the Commonwealth (from which it would secede in 1948) and the six-county ‘province’ of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. The years in between encompassed the First World War, the 1916 Easter Rising, a guerrilla war waged by the IRA, and the controversial Anglo-Irish Treaty, followed by a brief but traumatic civil war. Ireland is now half-way through a so-called ‘decade of centenaries’, in which these seismic events are being invoked and re-examined – in a notably more nuanced and less triumphalist manner than used to be the case. Roy Foster’s talk traces the reasons for this, both in past history and contemporary consciousness.

List of speakers at the British Academy Soirée 2016