chapter  4
37 Pages

The Troubles, the Border and Borderlands, 1969-1995

Although relatively short-lived, limited and sporadic in its effects, the IRA border campaign, with its restrictions on mobility and much heightened security, presaged the nature of borderland life in the Troubles after 1969 to which we turn to in Chapter 4. Nevertheless, it does not define the more general experiences of borderland life during the 1950s and 1960s. As this chapter has shown, people were able in many ways to evolve a series of ways – some legal, some illegal – of dealing with the border. It was by no means closed and, despite the state-imposed restrictions on mobility across it, social networks and long-established patterns of movement transcended the border. While there were reservations about the other and a clear inclination to maintain the dichotomy between Protestant and Catholic, there was also a marked sense of cross-border communality as a means of deflecting the potential conflicts causes by political separation. All this was to change, however, as after 1969 the borderlands became subsumed into some three decades of armed conflict in the island of Ireland, the period known colloquially as the Troubles.