chapter  2
34 Pages

In the Midst of All this Dross’: Establishing the Grounds of Dissent

A few miles outside Belfast at Cultra Manor in County Down can be found the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum: a curious recreation o f Ulster society in microcosm. Buildings, selected not for their authentic localised distinctiveness but because o f their assumed mundane generality, have been pillaged jackdaw-like from across the nine counties and carefully rebuilt following the shape o f a ‘typical’ Ulster town and its rural hinterland.1 Entering this unnamed setdement is therefore to experience a keen sense o f otherness within the specificity o f place as, inevitably, the desire to ‘recognise’ the area as authentic contradicts its standing as museum - its own self-conscious fictionality.