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24 September 2014
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Irish Times, April 14, 1966
Better than Bunting

Thursday, 14th April 1966



Aspects of Easter Week celebrations continue to strike the mind and are unavoidable at the moment. One is of good augury. The queues that collected to buy the stamp issue and the coins may be only wiser in their generation than the children of light; but if so, it is a welcome sign of intelligent souvenir seeking; and, if the profit motive is not wholly absent, neither was it from the minds of those who made the issues. We should not be too high-minded in these matters. Better, far better, to buy even souvenirs intelligently than to encourage the proliferation of rubbish which is produced solely for commercial reasons and is no value to the buyer. This practice is bad enough when the sentiment that is being exploited is national; it is contemptible - and ubiquitous - where the offerings pretend to be religious in their nature.

They should read enough of it to be able to discern truth from propaganda...

In keeping with these indications of maturity is the run on bookshops where works about Ireland - not necessarily on the Rising - have been in demand. The effect of the ceremonies is to alert or shame those who have not bothered to study history to take a course of it now. And by this everybody benefits. It has been said ever so often that the Irish should forget their history. This is not true. They should read enough of it to be able to discern truth from propaganda. A well-stocked mind cannot be a narrow and is less likely to be a bitter one than when the mental diet has been a select list of prejudices. It was also encouraging to see so many people in the Museum, which has made a very commendable effort for the occasion. Even to the least sympathetic observer there must be something infinitely touching about many of the relics collected here. The galleries, too, have put on exhibitions, and everywhere there are signs of intelligent curiosity about the events of half a century ago, which, to at least one generation, had seemed as remote as the Cromwellian campaign. There were reasonable fears that the celebrations might spark off explosions, but the weekend has come and gone, and such altercations as have reached the public’s attention were very minor indeed. On the other side can be claimed now a mood of reappraisal in some cases, in others a desire to know. It has been apparent since the State began that balance and maturity were essential on the vexed history of the State's origins. Perhaps we have reached the stage now. If, as the President said yesterday, Emmet's epitaph cannot yet be written, the reason why can at least be discussed without dust and heat. And that is something.

Irish Times,
April 14, 1966
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