Historians to revisit 1922 massacre of Protestants

– Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Several leading historians will be in Cork this weekend to discuss one of the bloodiest sectarian massacres of the War of Independence.

The killing of 18 people in West Cork — all Protestant but one — at the end of Apr 1922 remains one of the most contentious events of the time.

Since then, various interpretations of the so-called Bandon Massacre have polarised opinion.

A public event at the Imperial Hotel, Cork, on Saturday Apr 28 will explore the complex backdrop which led up to the tragic event.

John M Regan, who teaches Irish and British history at the University of Dundee, will re-examine the late Professor Peter Hart’s controversial interpretation of the killings.

Dr Regan claims that, from the available evidence, it is impossible to know exactly who carried out most of the killings, or what motivated them.

He explains how Prof Hart constructed his narrative of an “unambiguous sectarian massacre” from contradictory sources.

Dr Regan argues that Prof Hart’s interpretation “rests on an unsound reading of the evidence”, and he concludes that Prof Hart exaggerated tensions between Catholics and Protestants in West Cork to support his interpretation of the massacre as sectarian.

The event is organised by Dunlaoi Teoranta, which has invited leading members of all the faith communities around Cork, and members of the public, to attend and contribute to the discussion.

Andrew Bielenberg, senior lecturer in history at University College Cork, will speak on the historical context and impact of the killings on the community in West Cork.

The chairperson of the event will be Seán Ó Coileáin, emeritus professor of modern Irish, UCC. Hiram Morgan, senior lecturer in history at UCC, will facilitate questions and answers.

* The event takes place at the Imperial Hotel Ballroom at 2.30pm on Saturday 28 April.

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