As many regular readers of the site will know I have been campaigning for some time (along with colleagues) to see greater recognition in Ireland of the cost of the American Civil War to the Irish community. It was the second biggest conflict in terms of numbers in which Irishmen served in uniform, yet we have no memorial. Despite repeated efforts the State has failed to take any steps to acknowledge the 150th anniversary of this important event in Irish history. As I have said before, I find the official apathy with which we seem to regard the Irish role in this conflict at odds with the consistent promotion of ‘The Gathering‘, aimed at welcoming the diaspora home to Ireland. I strongly believe that more than simply inviting the diaspora home we have an obligation to embrace our diaspora’s history and acknowledge that it is a central part of the Irish story.
I sought a number of weeks ago to get a feature piece in one of our national newspapers to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, and I am delighted to say the Irish Examiner took this offer up. The feature ran today and you can read it here. Unfortunately a couple of units (the 1st Virginia, 69th Pennsylvania and 42nd New York) lost their designations between page and print, but this is a minor aspect- I am very happy that the Examiner decided that this was a story worthy of highlighting. Hopefully it might be another small step towards wider recognition of the conflict in Ireland.