The Kiltyclogher and Cashel Cross Border Community Partnership hosted a Seminar on the ‘1916 Rising – A Dual Perspective’ in Kiltyclogher Community Centre. Many people from all over Counties Fermanagh and Leitrim came to hear the renowned historian, columnist and broadcaster, Dr Eamon Phoenix who give an in depth account of the lead up to, and the aftermath of the 1916 rising.
Dr Phoenix described to the audience of how “The Easter Rising is perhaps the most definitive event in modern Ireland”. Seen as ‘a bolt from the blue’ at a time when Ireland was awaiting Home rule and supporting the British war effort, its roots lay deep in the Gaelic Revival of the 1890s and the re-emergence of the IRB in Belfast and Dublin in the early 1900s. The talk itself focused on that ‘crease in time’ between the death of Parnell in 1891 and the Rising itself. The importance of a local figure, Sean MacDiarmada- IRB leader and revolutionary organiser in Belfast and Dublin - was stressed as was the ‘opportunities’ provided by the rise of Carson’s Army- the UVF- in the North after 1913 and the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 was emphasised. Dr Phoenix highlighted that “There can be no doubt that Carson re-ignited the Fenian flame’ in 1916 even though this was furthest from his mind”. “The impact of the executions and the later rise of Sinn Fein were traced in Leitrim and in the rest of Ireland”.
Very topical in Kiltyclogher and Cashel cross border area is partition and the resultant impact on migration when a very significant number of Protestant families left the area. Leading on the closure of border roads during the Troubles had a devastating impact socially and economically in the area. As 1916 is also a prominent date for those of a unionist persuasion who recount the Battle of the Somme in July of this year, the community groups have organised a trip for attendees on the 1st December 2012 to this centre.
Through the County Leitrim PEACE III Programme support has been allocated to the Kiltyclogher and Cashel Partnership to deliver this ‘Shared Heritage Project’, aimed at focusing on the 1916 – from a dual perspective. This project has been funded through the European Union’s PEACE III Programme which is managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by County Leitrim PEACE III Partnership. Eilish McLaughlin, Cross Border Development Officer speaking at the event highlighted that “This project is very relevant to the communities of this area, as Kiltyclogher is home to Sean Mac Diarmada - one of nationalist figures involved in the 1916 Easter Rising” Eilish went on to say that “The Kiltyclogher and Cashel Communities felt that the close association with this prominent figure in Irish nationalism and the forthcoming centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, was an ideal context to give people the opportunity to explore their political and social history examining the role that the Easter Rising and its aftermath played in shaping modern Ireland”.