Severed Heads and Floggings: The Undermining of Oblivion in Ulster in the Aftermath of 1798

  • Guy Beiner
Part of the New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature book series (NDIIAL)


A considerable body of literature on ‘transitional justice’ has commented on the advocacy of forgetting that is inherent in amnesty settlements. The main focus has been on transitions from authoritarian states to democracies in the second half of the twentieth century, with regards to dispensations given to perpetrators of state violence under the former regime, but it should be acknowledged that many of these amnesties provided arrangements for the integration of former opponents of the state, including armed insurgents.1 A longer historical perspective exposes the inability of modern states to enforce uniform collective amnesia of their troubled and conflicted pasts. Official constructions of memory are constantly subject to contestations from counter-memories, defiantly upheld by oppositional groups. Less noticed perhaps is how rehabilitated loyal sectors of society, which seemingly had a vested interest in forgetting their previous political oppositional affiliations, would also cling on to memories of pain and suffering caused by the government to which they now professed allegiance.


Eighteenth Century Corporal Punishment National Archive Transitional Justice Death Sentence 
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Official Publications and Databases

  1. British Parliamentary Papers: House of Commons 1835, vol. XV (377).Google Scholar
  2. The Statutes at Large, Passed in the Parliaments Held in Ireland: From the Third Year of Edward the Second, A.D. 1310, to the Thirty-Eighth Year of George the Third, A.D. 1798 Inclusive, vol. 18 (Dublin: printed by George Grierson, 1798).Google Scholar
  3. Statutes Passed in the Parliaments Held in Ireland: From the Thirty-Ninth Year of George the Third, A.D. 1799 to the Fortieth Year of George the Third, A.D. 1800 Inclusive, vol. 12 (Dublin: George Grierson, 1801).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy Beiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Beer ShevaIsrael

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