Friday 20 April 2018

Eoghan Harris: Archives hold both happy memories and hard truths

Eoghan Harris

Eoghan Harris

Last week, the Irish Daily Mail reported that RTE had 41 staff working on its archives. Normally I would have reacted with rage. But my first thought was to wonder if they had sufficient staff.

Archives are the nuts and bolts of national memory. What a family album is to a family. Without an album we can still remember, but we lack the proof of a photograph.

But opening a national archive can be as fraught as opening a family album. Even after many years we can be surprised at the emotions they arouse. As the American novelist Ethan Cannin says: "Time is the thinnest bandage for our wounds."

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