Modes of memory: Remembering and forgetting the Irish Rebellion of 1798

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4 Scopus citations


Ninety-Eight" is a quintessential Irish lieu de mémoire. The Great Rebellion of 1798, which was the bloodiest outburst of violence in late-modern Irish history and inflicted lingering traumas, stands out in the commemorative culture of modern Ireland as a landmark that cast long shadows. Although the leadership of the United Irishmen, the revolutionary secret society behind the Rebellion, were lionized as the iconic founding fathers of Irish republicanism, militant republicans did not have a monopoly on the interpretation of the historical events. Subject to continuous contestations, the memory of the Rebellion was repeatedly revived and evoked. The year 1798, as demonstrated by Kevin Whelan in a seminal essay, "The Politics of Memory," "never passed into history, because it never passed out of politics" (1996, 133-75). Preoccupation with "The Memory of the Dead," as memorably phrased in John Kells Ingram's anthemic ballad, has featured prominently in Irish popular culture. The ubiquitous evocations of the Rebellion responded to attempts to silence and suppress, insinuated in the famous defiant opening verse of Ingram's ballad, "Who fears to speak of Ninety-Eight?" so that memory has been repeatedly reconstructed through dialectics of remembrance and forgetting. Yet it is only relatively recently that the memory of 1798 has been recognized as a topic of critical scholarly inquiry, and the detailed mechanics of remembrance remain to be explored.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistory and Modernity
PublisherSyracuse University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780815651710
ISBN (Print)9780815632979
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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