Bishop Colton: Some Cork protestants anticipate Civil War commemorations with dread

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork has said some members of his community anticipate commemorations of the War of Independence and the Civil War ‘fearfully and with a certain dread.’, writes Grainne McGuinness

Bishop Paul Colton said: “The coming centenary years call for careful thought and even more careful and sensitive commemoration.”

He was speaking at the official opening of ‘The Sam Maguire Community Bells’ in St Mary’s Church, Dunmanway on Saturday. The sportsman is buried in the churchyard and the community is installing a set of eight bells in the church in his honour.

“Here we are 90 years after the death of Sam Maguire, and, in not too many years, 100 years after those ‘troubled times’ we will be commemorating through the lens of what we are now, and of what our country has become,” Bishop Colton said.

“Among some in our Church of Ireland community the commemorations are anticipated fearfully and with a certain dread.

“The moods, motivations and complexity of emotions of that period cannot be extrapolated from statistical analysis of deaths alone. Statistics do not tell people’s human stories as they are remembered.

“There is an understandable reluctance to name anything in our past as sectarian or under desirable, but we are not well served by pretence either. We know war is cruel, divisive and ugly.

“We know that Cork was a most violent place in those years. War scars landscapes and humanity itself. At a century’s remove, we live even now with its outcomes and legacy.”

The Bishop referenced the controversy that surrounded Canon George Salter’s description of his family’s treatment at the time. The cleric said his family were forced to leave their farm in 1922, following threats from the IRA.

Bishop Colton suggested that reconciliation should be the focus of the commemorations. “Memories are still raw. Let us be under no illusions about the huge significance of what the Rev Cliff Jeffers and this community here in Dunmanway have put in place; what are we are opening today. In a prophetic way, from within this place, they have put down a marker of what the character of the coming centenary commemorations should be - reconciliation.”

This story first appeared in the The Evening Echo

Related Articles

Public invited to suggest ideas for commemorating major historic events

Ireland’s revolutionary years captured in ’Atlas of the Irish Revolution’

Latest: President lays wreath at GPO to commemorate Easter Rising

More in this Section

Man struck by two cars while crossing road in Dundalk

Storm Brian brings wind and rain to south and west; whole country will be affected later

Man in his 30s to appear in court tomorrow over Offaly €1m drug seizure

Health officials issue alert after measles outbreak reported in Dublin

Today's Stories

No Government jet for freed Halawa

Garda officers may sue for right to strike

Rail unions vote for industrial action

‘We are on our knees after this ... we need help’


A helicopter put a piano on the 150-foot roof of Blarney Castle and other stories from the Cork Jazz Festival archives

Jazz Memories: Famous faces share their favourite moments

Live music review: The Horrors - Icy genius in a thrillingly intimate setting

New book revisits the games they just don't make anymore

More From The Irish Examiner