Historical Revisionism In The Easter Rising

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This essay will examine the centenary commemoration of the 1916 rising with particular focus placed on the RTE television series Rebellion.1 An analysis of this drama will allow this essay to examine the manner in which the anniversary of the rising contributes to contemporary Irish identity.

The Easter Rising is a rebellion which took place between the 24th and 30th of April 1916 and resulted in 450 deaths including the execution of the fifteen leaders of the rebellion. The rising itself consisted of members of the Irish Citizens Army, the Irish Volunteers and the women's group, Cuman na mBan. The events which led up to the rising and the storming of the GPO began in 1913 with the denial of home rule and the Lockout which sought to protect
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Dublin City Council unveiled a banner celebrating 1916 which depicts supposed faces of the rising in the figures of Charles Stewart Parnell, John Redmond, Daniel O'Connell and Henry Grattan. One may be forgiven for believing these men are so called heroes of the struggle for Irish independence when in fact none of them took part in the rising and John Redmond adamantly condemned it. This can be seen as an example of blatant historical revisionism and one which was innocently defended by the council who stated that these figures were “as much a part of the historical narrative of Irish nationalism as anyone else”.6 Putting such an extreme emphasis on the rising now allows people to ignore the problems of the present, such as the fact that we have no government and that Ireland is still divided. Collective memory can also be blurred as the event was one hundred years ago and those who were directly involved with it are now dead. As such, people are encouraged to fondly reflect and create false memories and nostalgia. The narrative of Ireland that we are being presented with is one which is nationalist with reflections on the rising being used to solidify and encourage this. Essentially commemoration is welcome but only as long as it creates profit as can be seen in the tourist spin and invitation in relation to 1916, if it poses a…show more content…
Considering how little the rising was supported we are left to wonder was it indeed a rising or rather a bloody protest that the leaders did not believe would have any success. Did they even think that their deaths would result in the rise in nationalism which followed or were they merely unthinking in regards to the
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