Visiting Ireland regularly has involved me, and some of my clients, in interesting discussions about Anglo Irish history (often involving the English behaving badly (to say the least) when overseas). In particular we have talked and thought long and hard about what to say to the modern English visitor, who is generally enjoying a cead mile failte (a proper Irish welcome), about some of the darker times, many of which are seared indelibly on Irish consciousness but the English are unaware of.
I have developed a conviction that the Irish have to tell these stories. The English are not going to hear of their country’s involvement in Kinsale, in the Potato Famine, or the Easter Uprising anywhere else. I have now had experience of three places that have grasped the nettle of telling the history of conflict ‘when the old enemy is the modern visitor’. Two are in Dublin – the 1916 Uprising Walk (excellent!) and Kilmainham Gaol (more anon) – and the other not too far away at the Curragh Military Museum. All very highly recommended for truth telling with passion, integrity and understanding.
For more of my thoughts on this (now slightly superceded) see my talk at the inaugural Interpret Europe Conference in July – appearing soon on the IE website – hopefully.