BY BRIAN MOORE
THE Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, has said everybody should remember their own story and history as the country prepares for the upcoming War of Independence and Civil War centenary commemorations.
At a lecture, organised by the Rosscarbery & District History Society at the Celtic Ross Hotel, entitled Reflections on Centenaries, Bishop Colton said, ‘Everybody should be able to tell their story.’
The Bishop said that he remembers when he was a young boy at St Luke’s national school in Douglas as the teachers and pupils prepared for the 50th anniversary of 1916.
‘While I studied history in school and in college, I am not a historian,’ Bishop Colton said. ‘I am interested in history as a priest, a pastor and as a parson, and as such I feel that all of us should engage with our history. I am very interested in how people tell their stories. As a parson it concerns me when people are reluctant to tell their story, or if they afraid to do it, or if they aren’t bothered to do it.’
‘I remember the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 1916. Our school was decked out in tri-colours and we were all very excited as the celebrations began,’ Bishop Colton said. ‘Of course, I also remember about six or seven years later, the school had no problem when the rented black and white television arrived so that we could watch the royal wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Philips!’
As a member of the Church of Ireland advisor group for the upcoming centenaries, the Bishop said that we must all remember that our shared history is not that long ago.
‘My grandfather was born in 1896, through him to me – history is not that long ago and this is the same for everybody else,’ Bishop Colton said. ‘I remember back in the 1980s a woman from Drimoleague while sharing her memories of the Civil War said to me, “I know a sideboard in another house in this county and my mother’s silver is on it.” History is not so long ago.’
He said our stories have shaped us and there is a reason why people are the way they are. ‘Our own stories and history have made us, but mustn’t we also make it?’ he asked. ‘In the years ahead what I am interested in, as a church person is ‘where are we now? And what do we want to become?’