The “what ifs? ” of our past play a part in dealing with it today

The row over former taioseach John Bruton’s regret that the Easter Rising ever happened goes on. Will historian Diarmaid Ferriter have the very last word? In his latest sally in the Irish Times, Ferriter attacks the exaggerated use of the counterfactual, the “what if” school of history. His argument to  Bruton is basically simple –look, the Rising had the obvious effect of radicalising nationalist Ireland. It happened, get over it, stop regretting it.  In an important sense Ferriter the historian …

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