Barry Kennerk

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The remains of the Dublin Bread Company, after the Easter Rising in 1916. The weeklong rebellion has become the cornerstone of Ireland’s national story. Credit National Library of Ireland on The Commons

The Republic of Ireland is about to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising. This weeklong rebellion in 1916 has become the cornerstone of the country’s national story, but the idea that it was a battle to oust a foreign foe simply serves to perpetuate an invented Ireland — one that its own people before independence would not readily have understood.

For almost a century, Ireland has been Roman Catholic and, officially at least, Gaelic-speaking, but before the insurrection of 1916, a sense of national identity molded around those characteristics hardly existed. The Irish have always had a British heritage.

The notion of “Ireland for the Irish” was rooted in the political turmoil of the late 19th century that followed the failure of the separatist Fenian movement to achieve independence.…  Seguir leyendo »