'Machnamh 100' President of Ireland Centenary Reflections - Seminar 3

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“OF LAND, SOCIAL CLASS, GENDER AND THE SOURCES OF VIOLENCE” The historiography of 19th-century Ireland may be dominated by the campaigns for Emancipation, Repeal, Home Rule, the Anti-Tithe movement, but the underlying theme for all such campaigns carries the resonance of land – be it access to land, security of tenure, response to changes in production, population pressure. It is in relation to land that the most harrowing confrontations in rural Ireland occurred. They included evictions and the response to them, the land war, attempts at an eventual alliance between agrarian agitation and parliamentary action which would result in Land Acts that would utterly change Irish society but would create new cleavages, ignore the position of agricultural labourers at the lowest level, and restructure with the acceptance of emigration. The change in status from insecure tenancy to proprietorship facilitated by the Land Acts had huge implications for those who worked on the land, be it in relation to the inheritance pattern of Post-Famine Ireland, or the new conditions facing agricultural labourers, far short of equality and opposed by an organised large farmer association. The position of rural women in Ireland would change by an extension of the form of post-Famine stem family inheritance arrangements that would emerge, as would women’s participation in new patterns of emigration. These adjustments revealed, gave depth to, an institutional-sourced violence which the historiography has not given due recognition. Each theme of 19th-century Ireland – be it land, social class, gender – retained a unique capacity for the experience of outrage related to place and memory. There never could be enough land for all who sought it, then or later. Its fixity in supply would continue to influence both society and its conflicts up to contemporary times. Structural forms of violence were class-based, deeply embedded, while others were carried out on wider society from 19th-century development of order, authoritarian sources hostile to pluralism. They were dominating in intent and collusive to impersonal bureaucratic structures, the aftershocks of which have been felt up to and including our contemporary Ireland. A new, deep consideration of these forms and sources of violence that emerged, including gradations of violence inflicted on women, children and the poorest, is critical to adequately understanding our past and our present. By doing so, we engage in a process of inclusive ethical commemoration in a manner that promotes tolerance, healing, and prompts consideration of the often conflicting senses of identity, not only in contemporary Ireland, North and South, but in our interdependent, fragile world. President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins

President Michael D. Higgins is hosting a series of seminars inviting reflections on the War of Independence, the Treaty Negotiations, the Civil War and Partition. Titled ‘Machnamh 100’ the series takes its name from the Irish word Machnamh, an ancient concept encompassing reflection, contemplation, meditation and thought. In the series, leading scholars are sharing their insights and thoughts on the context and events of that formative period of a century ago and on the nature of commemoration itself. Through ‘Machnamh 100’, President Higgins is facilitating presentations and discussions on specific themes, to explore more fully the various aspects of that period in Ireland’s journey, and its legacy for the societies and jurisdictions that were to emerge subsequently. At the invitation of President Higgins, Dr. John Bowman, Historian and Broadcaster, will chair the seminar series, which began in December 2020, with further events through 2021 and 2022. The first seminar, titled Challenges of Public Commemoration, contemplated commemoration itself and the contexts

of the national and global events of a century ago. A second seminar, in February 2021, examined the motivations and practices of the British Empire in Ireland and of resistance to it. The third seminar, in May 2021, will focus on issues of social class, land and the role of women, subjects that are all tangibly and profoundly interlinked in the context of early 20th-century Ireland. The principal address at this seminar will be given by Dr Margaret O’Callaghan (Queens University Belfast), and respondents will be Dr Caitríona Clear (NUI Galway), Professor Linda Connolly (NUI Maynooth), Ms Catríona Crowe, Archivist, and Dr John Cunningham (NUI Galway). Machnamh 100 is an initiative of President Higgins that builds on his extensive work to date during Ireland’s Decade of Commemorations that has examined and explored seminal events such as the Lockout of 1913, the First World War, The Easter Rising, the Flu Pandemic, the election of 1918 and the first Dáil. Machnamh 100 is being supported by the Government and by RTÉ.



4 December 2020

CHALLENGES OF PUBLIC COMMEMORATIONS Master of Ceremonies: Dr. John Bowman Speakers: President Michael D. Higgins Professor Ciarán Benson Professor Anne Dolan Professor Michael Laffan Professor Joep Leerssen This opening session examined commemoration itself in the contexts of today and of the national and global events of a century ago. The historical spine in this session will be the manner and context in which the constitutional and political ‘terms of settlement’ emerged in Ireland and how nationalists and unionists responded - at the time and since - to the new structures. The implications of these responses for what ‘commemoration’ might mean today will be included in these reflections. 25 February 2021

EMPIRE: INSTINCTS, INTERESTS, POWER AND RESISTANCE The second seminar included consideration of European Empires following the First World War, the British Empire in particular and imperial attitudes and responses to occurrences in Ireland. It also included reflections on examples of resistance to Empire in Ireland and resistance to nationalism. In the seminar, President Higgins focused on the relationship between culture and empire, and how British cultural hegemony at the time attempted to shape and influence general cultural values in Ireland. Speakers: President Michael D. Higgins Professor John Horne Dr Marie Coleman Dr Niamh Gallagher Professor Eunan O’Halpin Professor Alvin Jackson

27 May 2021

RECOVERING IMAGINED FUTURES The May 2021 seminar has been given the title “Recovering Imagined Futures”. This seminar focuses on issues of social class, land and the role of women, and how particular gradations of violence emerged and became deeply interwoven across these subjects, with consequences that would shape the Ireland of today. Issues for discussion include, inter alia, how the Land Question shaped the figure of Irish nationalism and the shape of the society which emerged from the nationalist struggle with consequences for society and culturally; the impacts of the independence struggle on women, as well as their role in activism and participation; and possible futures are to be considered in the context of settlement talks between Britain and Dáil representatives following the first meeting of the parliament of Northern Ireland (June 1921) and the military Truce (July 1921). Speakers: Dr Margaret O’Callaghan Dr Caitriona Clear Professor Linda Connolly Ms Catriona Crowe Dr John Cunningham

SPEAKERS’ BIOS Michael D. Higgins, Uachtarán na hÉireann, President of Ireland, is currently serving his second term, having been first elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2018. President Higgins has forged a career as an academic and political representative at many levels, campaigning extensively for human rights, peace and sustainability. He was a member of Dáil Éireann for 25 years, and member of Seanad Éireann for nine years, and Ireland’s first Minister for the Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. President Michael D. Higgins led the commemorations of the “Decade of Centenaries”, marking the centenary anniversaries of some of the seminal events in Ireland’s history. The President attended and spoke at a large number of State and other ceremonial events helping to shape national efforts at exploring and examining the background, impact and contemporary significance of the events being recalled. Since taking office, the President has published two collections of speeches setting out his approach: ‘When Ideas Matter: Speeches for an Ethical Republic’ and ‘1916 Centenary Commemorations and Celebrations’.

Dr. John Bowman is a broadcaster and historian. He has presented current affairs and historical programmes on RTE radio and television since the 1960s. He is author of Window and Mirror: RTE Television, 1961-2011, the first comprehensive history of Irish television. His PhD, De Valera and the Ulster Question: 1917–1973, won the Ewart-Biggs Prize for its contribution to North-South understanding. His latest book, Ireland: the Autobiography, is published by Penguin. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2009 and awarded an Honorary Doctorate by UCD in 2010.

Dr. Margaret O’Callaghan MA (NUI) Ph.D. (Cantab.) is Reader in History and Politics at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her early work was on language and religion in the Irish Free State. She is the author of British High Politics and a Nationalist Ireland; Criminality, Land and the Law under Forster and Balfour and ‘Women and Politics in Independent Ireland, 1921-58’ in Vol 5 of The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing. She has published numerous articles including ones on Belfast in the1960’s, republicanism, policing and the state in nineteenth-century Ireland, the political thought of Roger Casement, and has co-edited with Mary E. Daly 1916 in 1966; Commemorating the Easter Rising (RIA, 2007). Dr John Cunningham is a lecturer in History at NUI Galway and a former editor of Saothar: Journal of the Irish Labour History Society. He has published widely on subjects including the moral economy, Irish local history and global syndicalism. A founder and co-director of the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour and Class, based at the Moore Institute in NUI Galway, he is co-Principal Investigator (with Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley) of the Tuam Home Oral History Project. He is editor (with Dr Ciaran McDonough) of Hardiman and Beyond: Galway Arts and Culture, 1820-2020, due from Arden in July 2021, and (with Dr Terry Dunne) of A Spirit of Revolution: Ireland from Below, 1916-1923, due from Four Courts in April 2022.

www.president.ie #Machnamh100

Dr Caitriona Clear teaches nineteenth and twentieth-century European and Irish history at NUI, Galway. She has published books and articles on a variety of historical topics including nuns, household work, women’s magazines, homelessness, children, health, oral history, emigration, work and welfare. She is currently engaged in a historical study of Irish popular writing (fiction, biography, hagiography) in the first fifty years of independence. Professor Linda Connolly is the Director of the Social Sciences Institute at Maynooth University. She is a Professor of Sociology and her research interests include gender, Irish society, family studies, migration, and Irish studies. She has published extensively in sociology and Irish studies, including the following books: The Irish Women’s Movement: From Revolution to Devolution (2003), Documenting Irish Feminisms: The Second Wave (with Tina O’Toole, 2005), Social Movements and Ireland (edited with Niamh Hourigan, 2006) and The ‘Irish’ Family (2015). Catriona Crowe is the former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She is editor of Dublin 1911, and former Manager of the Census Online Project, which placed the Irish 1901 and 1911 censuses online free to access. She. She presented the RTÉ documentaries “Ireland before the Rising” and “Life After the Rising”. She is Chairperson of the Irish Theatre Institute, Honorary President of the Irish Labour History Society and a former President of the Women’s History Association of Ireland. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy.