1916 in Context -a Public Symposium

Myself and my wife Mary spent the day in Saint Patrick’s Campus (Drumcondra) 9.30 a.m. to 16.30 p.m.  at a symposium dealing with the 1916 rising. We had no problem parking and entrance  and hall were arrowed all the way to our seats. No hassle. Huge room  well amplified and ventilated.

The morning session dealt with the political context of the rising showing how the rebellion ;dispersed the “Redmondites”; Ulster resistance to Home Rule; United States influence on the rebellion and the challenges at the turn of the century to empires such as Britain, Germany , Austria and Russia.  Dr. Marnie Hay was outstanding , engaging and informed.

The second session dealt with new directions and influences  explaining ; transgressing gender rolls i.e women as soldiers; the influence of the Gaelic League; the long gestation dealing with the literary revival and the Sinn Fein who had  little or no participation in the rising. It was  admitted that Eamon Ceannt and W. T. Cosgrove were involved in the struggle and that Arthur Griffith was on the sidelines. Dr Leeann Lane impressed as did the excellent Professor Michael Laffan who fielded question with ease.

After lunch session three dealing with military context outlined : The Fianna, started by Countess Markievicz and Bulmer Hobson; Labour and Easter Week ;the split in the volunteers and the British army in Ireland 1914 to 1916. All speakers here were top class but Dr. Pat McCarthy from Waterford was measured and paced and a joy to listen to.

Dr Martin Mansergh in conclusion gave an overall view of 1916 in relation to seizing the opportunity and laying a new foundation.An informative day in the presence of experts who presented the varied layers of the rebellion.  

J.M Harpur


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