Last week the Ceramic Room of the National Museum of Iireland became a special sort of theatre. It saw the staging of 1912 – A Hundred Years On, a one-hour play by Presbyterian historian Philip Orr and Jesuit priest Alan McGuckian.For Ulsterman Alan, this is part of his campaign to celebrate the controversial events of 100 years ago jointly with his fellow-Christians of sister churches. It was of course the year of the Ulster Covenant and also of the Home Rule Movement.
Alan writes: “Many of us think we know a bit about history, but in fact there is always a lot more to learn. And in a society like ours, with its political divisions, we tend to look at history in different ways. So it is probably helpful for us all to look at some important parts of history together and maybe even talk about the subject. Obviously we have chosen the year 1912 because that is exactly one hundred years ago. So what were the Unionists thinking and doing in 1912? And what were the Natioanlists thinking and doing? And were there other politicians about? This drama has been carefully researched and tries to show you what actually happened. It tries to show you what ordinary Unionists and Nationalists might have thought of each other at the time.”
At the Dublin performance, the actors were given a standing ovation at the end of the hour, and were hugely pleased with the evening. Alan introduced the play, and Philip, his co-author, spoke at the end, after a lively discussion by an audience of 40 or 50 people.