“We are the memory-keepers, we are the storytellers”

panel discussion during Republic - a group exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin

I don’t know what it is about public speaking but I was worried about it all day. Of course, I shouldn’t have.  Once we got into it, and the various panelists started expounding and expanding on their views, I settled in and found it stimulating and quite moving. You should’ve been there.

It was chaired by Marcus Howard, the independent film-maker, and the other speakers were artists Pamela de Brí, Claire Halpin and Kelly Ratchford, and the curators of “Republic”, Olivier Cornet and myself.

Marcus Howard has spent this year capturing on film the stories of relatives of those who were involved in the Easter Rising of 1916. Believe it or not he has recently completed his 76th short film on the subject. (Check out his Youtube channel: Easter Rising Stories).

It all started with Moore Street. Would you believe that there’s still the possibility of the whole historical site being turned into one vast SHOPPING MALL. Marcus has made 3 films about this and about the people’s protests against it.  There was a court case taken to stop the “development” and the judge in the high court ruled in favour. He agreed that the entire area of the last battle should be preserved as a National Monument but – would you believe that the present government is appealing the judgement?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Moore Street Dublin

Mór mo náir’ – mo chlann féin do dhíol a máthair…  Pádraic Mac Piarais


Sigh. But Marcus was talking about his films. “The reason I do it”, he said, “is because I want to create an online library so that future generations won’t be left saying: I wish I’d asked more questions… In one of my films, the poet Theo Dorgan says that the truth of our history depends on our memory-keepers and on our storytellers. We are the memory-keepers, he said, we are the storytellers… that’s why I do it.”  He’s a relative himself, his great-great-grand uncle was Arthur Greene, a member of the I.R.B. in Dundalk. Patrick Pearse asked them to read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic from the hill of Tara on Easter Sunday – but that’s a story for another day.





PS: the panel discussion was filmed and will be available to view shortly 




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