Into the Twenty-First Century
Popular commemoration of previously forbidden memories seems to signal the end of social forgetting. Though this is not necessarily the final word. The bicentenary of 1798 coincided with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, which promised to bring to Northern Ireland a new ‘parity of esteem’, accommodating traditions that had hitherto been forbidden. The wide range of commemorative activities through which the legacy of the United Irishmen has been publicly celebrated at a local and provincial level since 1998 gives the impression that all inhibitions about speaking of ‘Ninety-Eight’ have been overcome. Yet, on the background of continuing sectarian tensions in post-conflict Northern Ireland, there are indications that social forgetting has not been entirely eradicated.
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