In 1937, Father Canice, O.F.M. Cap, a member of the Capuchins Franciscans, wrote in retrospect of the origins of the Irish Civil War: ‘the Treaty signed at midnight split the country from top to bottom and plunged it into a midnight of utter despair.’ In so doing he defied the ... (Show more)
In 1937, Father Canice, O.F.M. Cap, a member of the Capuchins Franciscans, wrote in retrospect of the origins of the Irish Civil War: ‘the Treaty signed at midnight split the country from top to bottom and plunged it into a midnight of utter despair.’ In so doing he defied the Roman Catholic hierarchy by voicing discontent and, in criticising the ‘Treaty’, he took sides in the conflict. This was not unusual for his order or for the Capuchin Annual, its periodical.
The Capuchin Annual was published between 1930 and 1977 by the Capuchin Franciscans, a male Roman Catholic order, in Dublin. Edited by Father Senan Moynihan, O.F.M. Cap until 1953 and then by Father Henry Anglin, O.F.M. Cap, it was a major cultural, literary and religious periodical of its time, representing the views of the Irish Catholic middle class. It was known for its nationalist views and its proximity to the Fianna Fáil political party, founded in 1927 by Éamon de Valera, the leader of the anti-Treaty, or Republican, side in the Irish Civil War.
The Irish Civil War (1922-1923) was provoked by a divide on the question of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed in December 1921 to conclude the War of Independence (1919-1921). The divide was partly due to the Treaty enacting the Government of Ireland Act of 1920, which allowed the creation of a separate Northern Ireland state. This civil war had a major impact on post-independence Ireland in all aspect of its social, cultural and political life. While historians have argued that the event was forgotten in Irish memory, the analysis of the representations of the event in the Capuchin Annual showed that the memorial situation of this event is more complex than a simple absence.
The Capuchin Annual was digitised in 2016, allowing me to design a digital history methodology to aid its analysis. Combining corpus linguistics and history of representations, quantitative and qualitative analysis, my methodology allowed the visualisation of memorial patterns of events and figures, among other elements analysed. This paper will present some of my findings.
An aim of the Capuchin Annual during its publication was to define and shape Irish identity, a complex task in the post-Independence, and post-colonial, context of Ireland in the middle of the twentieth century. This paper will argue that the memory of the Civil War impacted this definition, and complicated the post-Independence process of creating a collective identity. (Show less)