In the early twentieth century, publicly staged productions of significant historical, political, and religious events became increasingly popular - and increasingly grand - in Ireland. These public pageants, a sort of precursor to today's opening ceremonies at the Olympic games, mobilized huge numbers of citizens to present elaborately staged versions of Irish identity based on both history and myth. Complete with marching bands, costumes, fireworks, and mock battles, these spectacles were suffused with political and national significance.
Dean explores the historical significance of these pageants, explaining how their popularity correlated to political or religious imperatives in twentieth century Ireland. She uncovers unpublished archival findings to present scripts, programs, and articles covering these events. The book also includes over thirty photographs of pageants, program covers, and detailed designs for costumes to convey the grandeur of the historical pageants at the beginning of the centuryand their decline in production standards in the 1970s and 1980s. Tracing the Irish historical pageant phenomenon through the twentieth century, Dean presents a nation contending with the violence and political upheaval of the present by reimagining the past. 8 colour and 29 black and white illustrations