Paths to Commemoration is a project aimed at devising ways of publicly marking significant historic events that can include everybody. It is funded by the PEACE III Programme run by Sligo County Council on behalf of Sligo Peace & Reconciliation Partnership Committee.
The project is aimed at enabling civic leaders in Co. Sligo to develop a greater understanding of commemoration of events, whether centuries ago or in the recent past, and their leadership role in relation to commemoration. The project involves 20 civic and community leaders for a series of monthly lectures relevant to the theme of commemoration. Participants are also offered two study trips to Flanders and to the Fermanagh Twelfth of July celebrations.
The monthly lectures, which are also open to the public, have included to date:
• “That would be an ecumenical matter: the Protestant Tradition of Parading on St Patrick’s Day in Ireland”
• “Was it for this? How and why do we commemorate the Easter Rising?”
• “So who are the Apprentice Boys of Derry?”
The lecture series considers a range of events, some relating to the Decade of Anniversaries and some to the more recent past. For example, one lecture was entitled “Commemoration and the 1981 Hunger Strike” with someone giving their personal experience of being part of the hunger strike.
After a 45 minute input from speakers, there is time for questions from those attending. After the public have left, the 20 civic and community leaders have a facilitated discussion aimed at allowing deeper exploration of the topic together.
What worked well and what, if anything, didn't?
The lectures have been well attended, with the Apprentice Boys event for example having 50 people in attendance, including many Leaving Cert History students. • The approach of opening lectures to the public has enabled more free-flowing discussion to be opened up on each topic.
The approach of covering recent issues as well as events of 100 years ago has made people more comfortable to participate. • Participants are embarking on site visits and encountering cultural experiences which they previously may have been unlikely to undertake or encounter.
Bryony Flanagan, Green Hat at email@example.com or 028 6772 3766.