As the centenary of the Irish Easter Rising approaches, it seems to be reigniting historical debate in Ireland and, hopefully, these isles.
The ‘four nations’ approach to modern British and Irish history is gaining traction and in this spirit I’ve been reading a fascinating book on Scotland and the Easter Rising (eds. Kirsty Lusk and Willy Maley) sent to me by my old chum Frank McShane.
There’s much in it on James Connolly, as you’d expect, but also a reminder of the British origins of four of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic (1916), all of whom were subsequently executed. Alongside Connolly’s Edinburgh background there’s Tom Clarke’s infancy on the Isle of Wight, Patrick Pearse’s English father, and Thomas McDonagh’s English mother.
For those interested in the 1916 Rising, I’ve recorded a short lecture on the experience of the rebellion through the eyes of future Irish Taoiseach Seán Lemass: accessible here
I also delivered a lecture this week on the consequences of 1916 with the formation of the Irish Free State / Eire, which chiefly concerns the experience of growing up male in Ireland in the 1930s and 40s, but which touches on Patrick Pearse’s concept of revolution as a generational duty. This is accessible here