Earl of Kildare exploring Protestant stories and 1916

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A former Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) general election candidate for Foyle will next month host a conference in Maynooth looking at the experience of Protestants in Ireland after 1916.

One-time Londonderry resident Earl Storey recently left the city when his wife Pat, a former rector at St Augustine’s, became the first woman Bishop in Ireland and Britain when she was installed as Bishop of Meath and Kildare.

Earl is currently delivering ‘Protestantism: A Journey in Self-Belief’ - a project of the Centre for Studies in Irish Protestantism, Maynooth University.

‘Silenced Stories: The Protestant Experience of 1916 and after’ is the latest event of that ongoing project and will be held at Maynooth on Saturday, November 14.

Earl writes: “Although Irish Protestantism has many historic links with various aspects of Irish Nationalism, by 1916 the nationalist movement had become overwhelmingly, although not exclusively, a Catholic phenomenon.

“In the years that followed, Catholicism and the Irish identity became ever more inextricably intertwined. Largely inadvertently, in the process alternative or other experiences of Irishness and identity have often been overlooked.

“This one day event is an invitation to consider and explore the experience of the Irish Protestant minorities of 1916 and the years that followed, particularly elements within Protestantism that are rarely mentioned in popular narratives about the Rising and its aftermath, including the urban and rural poor and minority denominations within Protestantism.

“The conference also invites participants and guests to contemplate the past with a view to building a better, stronger future and to think about the experience of minorities of all kinds in a world that often doesn’t seem to see them.”

The conference, which will be facilitated by Lynda Gould, will be addressed by several academics.

Professor Roddy Cowie will look at the impact of 1916 for “the Protestant psyche in Ireland.”

Dr Ben Levitas will speak about “Sean O’Casey and the Unfinished Revolution.”

And Miriam Moffitt will examined “the Protestant experience of revolution in North Connaught.”

The Centre for Studies in Irish Protestantism at Maynooth is committed to the exploration of the totality of Protestantism in independent Ireland in the context of its social, historical, cultural and spiritual dimensions.

The Centres’ ongoing ‘Journey in Self-Belief’ project creates space for self-reflection within the Protestant community in both jurisdictions to face reality – to create the future.