Searching for a symbol of Irish identity?

Tom Kelly weighs the problem of re-adopting 1916 as symbol for the unification of the rapidly diversifying Irish people, and sees a disjuncture between a non-militaristic present and a bloody past. It’s a theme that is likely to be returned to over and over as a large migrant population settles and eventually challenge apparent fixtures in the Irish cultural make up.

In 1916 the world only knew one way to change things and to that end the rising does have a legitimacy but Ireland as a new and small nation soon turned its back on all forms of aggression and pursued a peaceful and pacifist future among the countries of the world. Militarism or for that matter para militarism is not an all-pervading culture within Ireland and it’s not surprising. Why would a people subjugated by military oppression want to replicate a misguided policy which says that ‘might is right’?

Getting a starting point for the Irish to be at one is always going to be difficult. However, I thought we had it covered with St Patrick’s Day. For how better can we “cherish all the children of the nation equally” than by adopting a son from another country and making him one of our own? Surely that is what Ireland was then and perhaps more poignantly, is what modern Ireland is or should be about.

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