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Hard Border: Walking through a Century of Partition

Hard Border: Walking through a Century of Partition

Darach MacDonald

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Hard Border traces the roots of a century-old, hotly contested border that, after Brexit, will be the only land frontier between the United Kingdom and the European Union. After decades of murder, mayhem and segregation, the current almost invisible European interface between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland may revert to a full customs and immigration frontier.

Hard Border traces the roots of a century-old, hotly contested border that, after Brexit, will be the only land frontier between the United Kingdom and the European Union. After decades of murder, mayhem and segregation, the current almost invisible European interface between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland may revert to a full customs and immigration frontier.

Along the route of the abandoned Ulster Canal from Lough Erne to Lough Neagh –74 kilometres (46 miles) – it tells what happened during and after Irish partition. Moving through the historic Ulster counties of Cavan, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Armagh and Tyrone, Hard Border incorporates memoir, history, sociology and current affairs. It traces the historical facts of partition; the border’s devastating impact on cultural identity; the disruption of close communities; long-standing neglect by administrations on both sides; and the district’s pivotal role as the cockpit of the Troubles.

It also examines how EU-funded efforts to build peace since the Good Friday Agreement are jeopardised by Brexit. Along the way, Hard Border references travelogues, journals, fiction and poetry that have sought to capture the essence of this Border region.

In walks ranging from six to ten kilometres, Hard Border describes communities straddling jurisdictions; the disruption of lives entwined with a Border that very few, if any, ever wanted; vibrant towns reduced to desolate backwaters; and strong minorities on both sides who were cut off from their own. Most tellingly perhaps, Hard Border shows that this erratic border could never be sealed in the past and how there is even less chance now as a secure frontier for Brexit Britain.

Additional Information

Author Darach MacDonald
Publisher New Island
Publication date 1 Mar 2018
Format Paperback
ISBN/EAN 9781848406759

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