From Genealogy to Reconciliation: Public Engagement with Remembrance of the First World War in Ireland

Grayson, Richard S.. 2014. From Genealogy to Reconciliation: Public Engagement with Remembrance of the First World War in Ireland. Nordic Irish Studies, 13(2), pp. 99-114. ISSN 1602-124X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Over the past two decades in Britain and Ireland there has been a significant growth in opportunities to engage in genealogy and it is now arguably a form of cultural activity in its own right. This growth has been driven by and contributed to a range of television programmes and monthly magazines. Such growth has rested on the rapid expansion of sources available on the internet. These developments have enabled those in Ireland (north and south) who wish to examine their ancestry to do so. Meanwhile, as a consequence of the Northern Ireland peace process nationalists and republicans who have not previously wished to discuss their forebears’ role in the British military are now more willing to do so. This article examines the ways in which this has happened, offering seven categories for the types of work which have taken place and continue to do so: official, museums, regimental associations, books of honour, memorials, community and centenary. It argues that genealogy can reveal shared experiences across sectarian divides and this helps to complicate simplistic narratives. Such complication can have a powerful role in reconciliation.

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Genealogy Reconciliation Memory Commemoration First World War

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Date Deposited:

06 Jan 2015 14:43

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 10:14

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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