Texts about Ireland and Northern Ireland

Short stories and articles

"The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty

The Sniper | Analysis

The events take place sometime during the Irish Civil War in the 1920s. The social setting presents the tense atmosphere, noticeable during wartime. The author’s message is that war is extremely cruel and it can even make members of the same family kill each other for a political cause, causing alienation, shock, and remorse.

"To Keep the Faith" by Michael Becket

The main theme of the story is the conflict in Northern Ireland and its repercussions. In the story, one of the characters has become a victim of the Catholics, while another character has died in a cross fire in the city of Derry.

"Walking the Dog" by Bernard MacLaverty

The story suggests a tense, violent social context during the Troubles which has become the norm. The writer’s message is that when power is abused, people become trapped like dogs on a leash.

"Father and Son" by Bernard MacLaverty

Father and Son | Analysis

The setting of "Father and Son" is the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The story is about the way a violent context negatively influences the relationship between a father and his son.

"Good Girl" by Maria Conlon-McKenna

In “Good Girl”, there are two different references to violence. There is violence at the general level of society during the Troubles and the violence the main character was subjected to by other children. The first type of violence - the political one - was the cause of the second. The story mentions the peace talks and ceasefire agreements during the conflict.

"Cyprus Avenue" by Lucy Caldwell

"Cyprus Avenue" is set in contemporary times. The story suggests the present racial prejudices against Irish people and the fears of British authorities. The story also describes how many people from Northern Ireland chose to leave Northern Ireland for good.

"No Angel" by Bernie McGill

The main character of the story has to deal with the grief of losing all her family as her brother died during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and her mother died grieving her brother. This surrealist story shows that a way to deal with loss is to accept it instead of fighting it.

"Belfast Protests Leaving Scars on Schoolchildren" by Brian Lavery

The main theme of the article is the impact of the conflict in Northern Ireland. A sub-theme of the article is the effects of political conflicts on children. The article also touches upon the Good Friday Agreement (The Belfast Agreement) from 1998.

Other texts

Below are further suggestions for texts or movies that may be relevant when working with Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Troubles. We do not currently have study guides for these texts, but maybe you can be inspired to look for some of these titles yourself.

  • Brogan, Catherine - The Omagh-ah (2011 poem)
  • Burns, Anna - Milkman (2018 novel)
  • Clarke, Alan - Elephant (1989 short film)
  • Demange, Yann -  ’71 (2014 movie)
  • Hanvey, Steafan - Reconstructions: The Troubles in Photographs and Words (2018 book)
  • Jordan, Neil - Michael Collins (1996 movie)
  • Loach, Ken - The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006 movie)
  • MacLaverty, Bernard - Cal (1983 novel)
  • McCourt, Frank - Angela's Ashes (1996 memoir)
  • Seymour, Gerry - Journeyman Tailor (1989 book)