A human lifetime is relatively short compared to the collective memory of a nation’s actions – a memory about human engagements that create and shape our destiny. This memory stretches back centuries if not millennium and further still as we search for clues about who we are.
Ireland’s communities have their good examples of how moments of tragic hunger, famine, rebellious bravery and emigration are embedded in its recent collective memory. Every nation has similar moments.
There is always however, a time for changes to this memory. Not in the facts around their actual happening; these facts will always inspire and attract the attention of inquiring minds. The changes I speak of are about relevance and influence to the society of the moment and how historical journeys are continuously formatting long after these remarkable historical events have past. Respect for history and all its contradictions is part of our character.
The 1916 Easter commemorations have brought into view a variety of changes in looking at its significance and influence; not only in Ireland but also in Britain.
It may seem like Great Britain and Ireland have separate narratives to tell its people and the world. In looking at these stories it is clear they are part of the same larger history. Connected by culture, commerce, freedom and blood, there has never been a better time for change in how we feel about our collective memory - A change to pursue political progress with economic development.
In the famed Irish Republican stronghold of Derry's Bogside area, during its 2016 Easter commemoration, change is evident; a celebration of memory as opposed to a resentment to how that memory came about. It is not complete in the national psychic but is diluting the old grievances with a maturing reverence. It has taken 100 years to feel this change in how we embrace our memories; and maybe a 100 more for them to be legend; our lives may be short, but our histories are long, together they create the eternal memory about who we are.