Damian Shiels has a thought provoking post on his blog, asking if Ireland should have a memorial to the Irish who fought in the American Civil War. The post was in fact a closing for a larger article, based on an interview of Damian which ran on an Irish online news site, Journal.ie. In the article Damian pointed out:
Of the 1.6 million Irish who were in the States in 1860, about 180,000 end up fighting. It had a huge affect on the entire community. But the State hasn’t done anything to mark it – there is no national memorial here or anything like that.
I think Damian makes a compelling argument for some form of recognition of the Irish who served in our Civil War. But of course, I’m a bit bias towards anything recognizing the importance of our Civil War. But you must admit we Americans pitch that war a bit much.
Keep in mind there is a Scotish-American Soldiers memorial in Edinburg. Even though the Scots represented a fraction of a fraction compared to the Irish. But this isn’t some international competition. Rather an interesting expression, manifesting from yet another perspective of our Civil War.
Here in the country in which the war was fought, we are debating over the
correctness, and in some cases the validity, of new memorials going up 150 years after the war ended. Apparently we still find a need to put up those new memorials. So I can certainly understand the need for a fitting, proper memorial for Irishmen who fought in the Civil War.
Where Damian scores, in my opinion, is going beyond the suggestion of some bronze and marble figure. Closing the original article, he’s quoted, “There is a gigantic body of information that hasn’t been tapped in Ireland before,” alluding to letters, papers, and other source material in Ireland or from Ireland that relate to the Civil War. If the sesquicentennial of the Civil War serves to bring those back out to the light for a broader audience, that’s good reason to hoist a mug of Guinness, or Beamish, or Murphy’s, or Harp, or Smithwicks… or heck a whole bunch!
- Irish Views on the American Civil War- Does Ireland Need a Memorial? (irishamericancivilwar.com)
- Ireland’s Forgotten Famine Generation (irishamericancivilwar.com)
- Irish documentary capture the story of the American Civil War’s first casualty (irishcentral.com)