Commemorative Heritage and the Dialectics of Memory

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Abstract

Commemorative heritage stands in the dock, accused doubly of commercialising and of selectively inventing, in other words, falsifying, history. Like history, memory reconstructs representations of the past in the present. Accordingly, the collective memory represented in displays of commemorative heritage often incorporates information drawn from collected memory, grounded in local folklore. Alongside the writings of professional historiography, folk history offers resources for commemorative representations of the Irish past. The recording of oral traditions in Ireland has a particularly secure footing. In particular, Roy Foster observed that 'one of the sites where some very interesting historical "marketing" has been going on is the industry of commemoration' and called attention to 'the re-creation of "Ireland" by communal acts of remembering and celebration'. Several prominent heritage schemes in Ireland appear to be local examples of such aberrations of Plato's Cave, whereby replicas unashamedly purport to oust originals.
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationIreland's Heritages
Subtitle of host publicationcritical perspectives on memory and identity
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Pages55-69
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)1138255246 , 9781138255241
StatePublished - 2017

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