Looking Beyond Our Own Border

International context

As part of our journey of discovery we will travel back in time to discover why Northern Ireland came into existence. Partition was the ‘answer’ not only to divisions and conflict in Ireland but was a model used across Europe after the First World War and has remained an option for those seeking to resolve territorial or ethnic conflicts ever since. To help us understand the Partition of Ireland and to help other communities get involved in the discussion we will look at partition as a solution internationally. 

Speaking in Parliament in 1922 as he attempted to explain Partition and its causes Winston Churchill said 

“ Then came the great War. Every institution, almost, in the, world was strained. Great Empires have been overturned. The whole map of Europe has been changed. The position of countries has been violently altered. The modes of thought of men, the whole outlook on affairs, the grouping of parties, all have encountered violent and tremendous changes in the deluge of the world, but as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again. The integrity of their quarrel is one of the few institutions that has been unaltered in the cataclysm which has swept the world. That says a lot for the persistency with which Irish men on the one side or the other are able to pursue their controversies. It says a great deal for the power which Ireland has, both Nationalist and Orange, to lay their hands upon the vital strings of British life and politics, and to hold, dominate, and convulse, year after year, generation after generation, the politics of this powerful country.” 

He encapsulates one of the challenges of this project and it is the challenge with to understand the Irish Question and also to see it in more than just parochial terms. It is not just limited to Irish history or British history but to the formation of modern Europe and indeed the modern post colonial world. 

The Partition Solutions part of the project will seek to take us above the “dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone’ and show us a world view which will help us all understand our local situation better. It will challenge accepted ‘truths’ by setting them alongside International comparisons, and it will seek to develop learning from these comparisons which can be of global use. 

Latest project news

Articles and news items which help us understand the international context of Irish Partition.