Of all the events mentioned within the Decade of Centenaries programme announced in 2012 ("the programme encompasses the different traditions on the island of Ireland and aims to enhance understanding of and respect for events of importance among the population as a whole ... to offer fresh insights and constructive dialogue and to foster deeper mutual understanding among people from the different traditions"), commemorating Northern Ireland's centenary - the shaping of the United Kingdom as we now know it - was always going to be the most difficult.
Last week, following Boris Johnson's statement that he was establishing a Centenary Forum and Centenary Historical Advisory Panel (a very-late-in-the day decision, in my opinion), Michelle O'Neill set out Sinn Fein's position: "The north was built on sectarianism, gerrymandering and an inbuilt unionist majority and that is not something I would ever celebrate. Partition failed this island ... it not only divided our island, but also our people and was devastating for our economy. Any event or forum looking at the centenary of partition must include a reflective and honest conversation on partition, its failure and how we move in to a new decade ... and we will engage in all of that. But we cannot have a one-sided bias from the British Government."
Hmmm. Not much hint there of any desire for mutual understanding. I wonder, by the way, if her reflective and honest conversation would include her personal reflections on the IRA's assorted campaigns since 1921, particularly the activities of the Provisional IRA from 1970 to the second ceasefire in July 1997.
If Sinn Fein believes unionism got it wrong, then maybe O'Neill also needs to consider that the IRA also got it wrong.
I agree with her that commemorations of this sort can't just be one-sided, but nor can they be platforms for Sinn Fein to make an opposing argument without both addressing and responding to very difficult questions about its own history over the past 100 years.
Boris Johnson, while saying he wanted to celebrate "the Union that makes up the United Kingdom, the most successful political partnership in the world" went on to add the rather paradoxical comment, "but, of course, I appreciate there will be plenty of people who take a different point of view".
Does that strike you as an extraordinary thing for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to say just a few months before the Union's centenary?
And not one word, either, about how he plans to convince the "plenty of people" who seem prepared to vote for the potential break-up of the United Kingdom.
Even more extraordinarily, he went on to encourage unionists - he was speaking in Belfast, by the way - not to be worried by the Irish Government's beefed-up Shared Island Unit and to "engage with people south of the border in a confident way - economically, politically, you name it".
Was he even aware that Micheal Martin had said a few days earlier, "(but) what happens if England gets turned off Northern Ireland? We've got to be thinking all this through".
Johnson had an opportunity to say that England (or he himself) would not be turned off, but he chose not to say anything of passing comfort to unionism here.
In a piece timed to coincide with Johnson's visit, NIO Minister Robin Walker noted: "Northern Ireland is a truly special place - and we intend to make this a memorable centenary that we can all be proud of, as we celebrate all that is unique about Northern Ireland and look ahead to its bright future."
For all the enthusiasm, passion and cliche on display throughout the piece, he may as well have been writing about the Isle of Naboombu from Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Not a single word would have spooked the Irish Government, upset Sinn Fein, or thrown a spanner into the works. Not a single word in praise of, or support of, local political/electoral unionism.
But what of Arlene Foster? How does she view the centenary? "I think it is an event for the whole of Northern Ireland, looking forward to the future, looking forward to our young people having a place in the world and that is what I want to see happening for our centenary plans."
In fairness to her, it's a difficult celebration for "Ulster" unionism to pull off. In his speech marking the centenary of the Covenant in September 2012, DUP leader Peter Robinson spoke about the need for unionism, in the run-up to 2021, to offer a "better and more attractive alternative" to Irish unity. He also pushed the idea of a Council for the Union to prepare the ground for celebrating Northern Ireland's centenary.
The Council for the Union never got off the ground. Instead, we have what Johnson announced last week. The forum will work with political parties, business, tourism and the voluntary and community sectors to deliver an "ambitious and exciting range of events".
Meanwhile, the panel will provide "expert insight on the historical facts and themes of this period, encouraging wider engagement with, and reflection on, our shared history".
I'm tempted to say, good luck with that, because, when it comes to Northern Ireland, I'm not sure that the memberships of the forum and panel will be able to produce anything other than safe-footed general assessments and anodyne recommendations for cross-community events with the usual safe-tongued, gently-spoken contributions.
But what about the Northern Ireland Parliament from 1921-72? Are we going to talk about that? Or civil rights? Or the shredding of the UUP into a confetti of new parties and offshoots? Or the fact that unionism doesn't have a majority in the Assembly, or Belfast City Council, or even Westminster right now?
Or the role of the Army and security forces? Or UK policy since 1969? Or the fractious nature of political relationships? Or the IRA? Or the inability to resolve legacy issues? Or the fact we still have two competing historical narratives? Or the role of successive Irish Governments? Or Boris Johnson's own weakening of the Union?
Listening to Johnson, Foster and O'Neill it sounds like it's going to be impossible to agree on how to commemorate Northern Ireland's centenary.
The British Government won't want to say anything about "Ulster" unionism, or talk about plucky Northern Ireland standing firm against IRA.
And Arlene won't want just an Ulster Fry/George Best/Mary Peters et al hoopla: she'll want to talk about why we're still here and will still be here in 2121. Sinn Fein, of course, will just want to prove how unstable the place is.
Barring a vaccine breakthrough, it seems likely that the celebrations here - indeed, right across the UK - will be fairly low-key. Ironically, that may be no bad thing.
There are an awful lot of difficult questions and unresolved tensions across the UK right now and enough other problems to be dealt with - not least the growing divisions between a rebooted English nationalism and competing nationalisms in the Celtic fringes.