The Second Half of the Nineteenth Century
Traditions of social forgetting, whereby awkward historical episodes are not commemorated in public but are still remembered in obscure forms, can be passed on over generations. With time, muted memories can emerge into the open, yet they still reflect various forms of restraint. The spread of Orangeism in Ulster, alongside unionist concerns about the rise of nationalism, provided a forceful context for disremembering Protestant involvement in the United Irishmen. The emergence of relics from 1798, including occasional discovery of skeletons, were salient reminders of the past. Whereas works of historical fiction that did not correspond to local traditions of the Turn-Out failed to attract attention, literary representations of folk memory were received with enthusiasm by popular readerships. Towards the end of the century, antiquarian interest fed into a cultural revival in Ulster, which was determined to bring long-hidden memories of Ninety-Eight into the public sphere.
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