chapter  1
14 Pages

Introduction

This chapter explores the material, political and economic reconfiguration of the border since the early 1990s. It addresses the theme of border identities in relation to the legacy of conflict, cross-border initiatives and arguments about the recognition and commemoration of divided and collective forms of border heritage and experience. The George Mitchell Bridge was just one, albeit high profile, re-opening of a border road among the many that occurred after the first paramilitary ceasefires of 1994. Since January 2005 drivers crossing the border from Northern Ireland to the Republic have encountered new speed limit signs in kilometres per hour. Borderland landscapes are read by borderland Protestants in terms of narratives of collective experience, materially grounded in the specific sites through which Protestant identity is enacted. Accounts of the deliberate targeting of Protestants in the borderlands as part of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) policy of 'ethnic cleansing' are deeply emotive and subject to heated dispute.