I was recently interviewed by one of Ireland’s main online news websites, the Journal.ie, about the Irish in the American Civil War. You can read the published piece here. The main thrust of the article followed one of my recent posts, Ireland’s Forgotten Famine Generation, which discusses how those in Ireland do not realise the extent to which the American Civil War affected Irish people, given that there were 1.6 million Irish people living there in 1860. It also touched on the lack of a national memorial to the Irish who experienced the war, and the general lack of recognition they receive from the Irish State despite our pride in the global Irish diaspora.
By far the most interesting aspect of the Journal’s piece were the comments it provoked among some of its readers. Although many of the comments were positive, there were others who raised interesting questions, particularly regarding the propriety of a memorial in Ireland to those affected by the war. Some of the most thought-provoking are below:
- ‘Why do we need memorials to those who kill one another no matter which side they were on? It says much about human nature or at least how daft it is.’
- ‘But should we make a memorial for them? Not in my opinion. They fought a war which didn’t involve Ireland when they decided to leave the country.’
- ‘Still think any future recognition should be clear in honouring those Irish people who gave their lives to fight for the Union and the abolition of slavery in the American Civil War’
- ‘There are countless wars that Irish have fought in and haven’t received recognition, from Rhodesia to the Arab israel wars and almost all modern conflicts’
All of the above opinions are reasonable and valid, and provide an insight into how some people in Ireland may view a memorial to those affected by the Irish in the American Civil War. I will be putting together a post in the coming days where I look at each of these points in turn and offer my views- in the meantime what do you think?