OPINION: Fears about West Cork History Festival not allayed

June 25th, 2017 5:32 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – I am pleased that Simon Kingston is glad (‘Disappointment at pre-judgement of History Festival,’ June 10th). However, he has not allayed fears that the West Cork History Festival promotes a narrow view of Ireland’s independence struggle.

He mentions Professor Eunan O’Halpin, who I omitted in my original letter. Prof O'Halpin narrated a two-part television programme in 2013. Part one dug up a field in Laois, in a futile attempt to uncover two disappeared IRA bodies from the 1920-21 period.

Futile because it turned out that the IRA did not shoot them. They survived the conflict unscathed. After that damp squib, in part two, Prof O'Halpin made exaggerated claims about the number of spies shot by the Cork IRA, and about the supposed innocence of those verifiably killed.

In the interests of inclusivity, I note that I also failed to mention the presence of Ruth Dudley Edwards, another aficionado of the excitable Kevin Myers-Eoghan Harris school of revisionism.

I would be very happy to accept Simon Kingston’s kind invitation to attend, were it not for the €180 price of admission, including dinner, excluding accommodation. If I eat a pack lunch (forgoing dinner) and sleep (like many homeless people today) in my car, I am afraid €80 is still too steep.

I daresay the cost is beyond that of many of the fine Cork people I know, who I am sure feel as I do that the festival programme represents a co-location of the converted. I have no problem with the advertised participants chatting amongst themselves, rather like the RIC in 1920 confined to barracks.

However, the festival is advertised as supported and funded (how much?) by Fáilte Ireland and is patronised by other fine persons. It appears broader than it actually is.

Perhaps the secretive organising committee, whose names are not on the festival website (please correct), could consider issuing further invitations. There is still time.

Perhaps also, in the interests of actual debate, some of the similarly-minded, advertised to speak, might volunteer to forgo their place. A different point of view might refresh the cloying atmosphere promoted by the current programme.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Cooper,


Dublin 6W.




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