The history of Ireland is one of violence and oppression; it had been ruled by the British from 1171 to1918. The occupation had left its scars in the form of a people not belonging on the Island settled inNorthern Ireland caused by “the Plantation of Ulster”. This caused a divide leading to many conflicts withthe most recent one being “The Troubles”, a book that shows how it was for regular people living inNorthern Ireland during the conflict is Across the Barricades first published in 1972 by the famed authorJoan Lingard.It was not socially acceptable for a catholic to be together with a protestant for either of the tworeligious groups in Northern Ireland at the time of The Troubles. Breaking this unwritten rule oftenresulted in the two in question becoming outcasts or just generally being looked down upon in society,and this is exactly what the book is about. The book centres on the relationship of a Catholic boy calledKevin and a Protestant girl called Sadie, their relationship was not appreciated by either of theirrespective families Nor many of their friends. The reason for this being the case is partly for it being verydangerous to show their love on the streets of Belfast because of outright hate between the tworeligious groups that could lead to the two of them being injured or even killed. Kevin was beaten upbadly by three different attackers which caused him to walk on crunches for several weeks as well ashaving multiple injuries to his head, the attack occurred when he was walking home after spending theday with Sadie. Their relationship also lead to another issue, Kevin was blamed for hiding a weapon inthe scrapyard in which he had previously worked in, as he was allegedly seen by a girl that disliked Kevinand Sadie’s relationship . All these troubles which they had to endure together led to them leavingIreland for the more acceptable England.Kevin lives in a house in Belfast with his father, mother and his younger siblings, he often has to helptake care of his siblings since there are 8 of them. Kevin worked at a scrapyard until the weapon incidentcaused him to lose his job; he is later asked if he wants his job back because of the lack of competentscrapyard workers available, he refuses this offer as he wants to be off the streets as much as possiblebecause of the risks. Kevin seems to be largely driven by impulse and feelings, the reason for mebelieving this is the fact that he keeps seeing the one he loves despite it coming at great risk for him,Sadie and both their families. Sadie is a protestant girl that lives in a house in Belfast just a few blocksaway from Kevin’s residence with her parents and older Brother Tim. Sadie was employed at a cornershop in town until someone set it on fire killing the owner and burning the building to the ground. Sadieis much like Kevin largely driven by feelings, I base this on the fact that she goes out to meet Kevindespite the obvious risks. She does seem to become more “reasonable” after Kevin was beat up sinceshe walked to meet Kevin and tell him that they can’t see each other anymore for their own safety, butthey both end up disregarding this. Another person of interest is Mr Blake; Mr Blake is Sadie’s oldgeography teacher, Mr Blake is a very kind man who lets the couple meet in his house, and he also givesSadie a temporary employment as his housekeeper. Mr Blake letting the two be in his house lands him ina load of trouble which eventually gets him killed. Another important individual for the story is BrianRafferty, Brian is a catholic boy that in many ways causes trouble for Kevin, one example being when hegot several of his mates to beat up Kevin, and another when they framed him with the gun found in thescrapyard. Brian is in some ways much like a gang leader, for example the way he gets others to beat upKevin.The conflict in Ireland can be traced all the way back to 1171 when the island was invaded by theNormans with Henry the II king of England leading them. The invasion was a great success, which lead tothe Island becoming a papal possession controlled by England. The English ruled over the entire Islanddespite not having full control over a large portion of the Island, the English control decreased over timeand eventually they only had a small foothold on the eastern part of the Island known as ‘The Pale’. Thereligious divide between the English settlers and the native Irish did not yet exist, sense Protestantismhad not been invented yet. This changed in the early 1600 as the protestant reformation took place; thereformation caused many European nations to turn to Protestantism including Henry the VIII’s England.These nations did not include Ireland which remained largely catholic. ‘The plantation of Ulster’ was aprocess started in 1609 under James the first which objective was to take land from the Irish Gaelic andreplace their population with English and Scottish settlers, the reason for this was to stop rebellionagainst the British rule in Ulster as it was the province that was most negative towards it. Irelandremained under British rule despite the majority of Irish people being against it, this lead to many failedrebellions against British rule caused by Irish republicans, such as the Irish rebellions of 1641, 1798 and1803.The Irish home rule movement was founded in 1870 by Isaac Butt; its purpose was to make Ireland self-governed from within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The First Home Rule Bill ofIreland was introduced in 1886 by the Liberal William Ewart Gladstone; the bill was defeated in theHouse of Commons. Gladstone also introduced The Second Home Rule Bill in 1893, this bill made it onestep further than the earlier bill had gotten and was defeated in the House of Lords. The Third HomeRule Bill was proposed and enacted in 1912, but it was suspended following the outbreak of The GreatWar. The Easter Rising was a rebellion started by Irish nationalists in 1916 against their British rulers; therebellion failed which lead to all the rebellion leaders being executed by the British. Public supportlargely shifted from the Home Rule movement to the more radical Sinn Féin party following the EasterRising. Sinn Féin’s goal was to not just gain Home Rule within the United Kingdom of Great Britain andIreland, as its predecessor had wanted, Sinn Féin’s ultimate goal was to make Ireland a state free fromBritish control. The Irish general election of 1918 ended in Sinn Féin winning nearly all counties in Irelandexcept the Ulster counties where the Unionists reigned supreme. Sinn Féin declared Ireland a free stateafter winning the election, this lead to the Irish war for independence occurring. The Anglo-Irish Treatywas a peace agreement which ended the war and gave the Irish their own Free State, this Free State didand does still not control all of Ireland with Ulster remaining a part of the United Kingdom. The Irish FreeState was to remain a part of The British Empire under the status of dominion.The troubles was a period of intense violence in Northern Ireland which took place during the years of1968-1998; it was a conflict between the protestant unionist north and Irish nationalist Catholics. Thetroubles began after a series of civil rights marches were held in Northern Ireland by Irish nationalistsdemanding greater equality, the marches escalated into riots as police attempted to halt the nationalistmarch. The conflict escalated further and further which ultimately lead to the deployment of Britishsoldiers on the streets of Northern Ireland and the death of over 3,500 people as well as around 50,000injured. Initially both sides of the conflict saw the British army as neutral, and that they were there toprotect them, this took a sharp turn after the Bloody Sunday Massacre occurred were British soldiersshot 28 unarmed peaceful protesters. The Good Friday agreement was a peace agreement between therepublic of Ireland and Britain; one thing that the agreement said is that Britain would accept thepartitioning of Northern Ireland to The Republic of Ireland if a majority of the people of Northern Irelandwere to vote yes to becoming a part of The Irish Republic.Is Britain’s exit out of the EU an existential threat to Northern Ireland? Many residents of NorthernIreland and the Republic of Ireland fear that Brexit will lead to many troubles for them. They fear that itwill be a pain crossing the border to for example get to their workplace or to go shopping. The primeminister of Britain, Theresa May assures both peoples that there will be no so called “hard border”between the two nations; the definition of the term “hard border” in the English dictionary is thefollowing: “a border between countries that is strongly controlled and protected by officials, police, orsoldiers, rather than one where people are allowed to pass through easily with few controls”. This is verygood news for both the people of Northern Ireland as well as the people of the Republic of Ireland, sensemore than 30,000 people cross the border daily according to Irish foreign minister Charles Flanagan.Another issue that will come if the situation is not handled correctly is the increased declaration of goodsthat will occur once the UK leaves the EU, declarations of products will rise from 55million per year to255 million per year after the Brexit process has been ended according to Her Majesty’s Revenue andCustoms. This could lead to massive traffic jams caused by trucks carrying goods at the Irish border.The book is in my opinion a very well written one, and I have concluded that it depicts the reality of theconflict quite well, I base this on the facts of how it was for regular people during the period according tothis documentary;

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