When you think of Che Guevara, the first place you might think of is Cuba. After all, Che is arguably most famous for his activities in the Cuban Revolution, even though they came near the end of his life. You might also think about Bolivia, where his story came to an end, or Argentina, where it began. Few people will think of Ireland, but perhaps they should: Galway will soon be home to a new Che Guevara monument.
What? As the Galway Advertiser article above notes, Che was born in Argentina. But that’s only part of the story: You’ll notice that the Advertiser refers to Che as Guevara-Lynch. The “Lynch” part refers to Che’s ancestor, Patrick Lynch. Patrick Lynch was an Irish engineer who lived in Galway circa 1715 and became a “significant landowner in Chile” by the end of his life. Thus, Che has an inarguable Irish heritage.
One supporter of the new monument quoted in the Advertiser said: “Che is an international figure who has inspired thousands of people and it is time we honored and recognized him.” Galway will also benefit from the potential for increased tourism when the monument finally stands. Many cities in Ireland are known for celebrating the Irish roots of famous individuals, including (for example) Barack Obama.
The new monument will join other landmarks related to Che, including a family home located in Claregalway. Does it surprise you that Che has an Irish connection? Do you feel that Galway’s efforts to highlight Che’s heritage are fair -- or is it a ploy for tourism? Will you go see the new monument?