Explore how Northern Ireland was created a hundred years ago in the company of Tara Mills and Declan Harvey.
Episode 19: The Big Day?
There are many dates which historians argue could constitute the birth of Northern Ireland, but a panel of government-appointed experts have decided that it came into being on the 3rd of May 100 years ago. As the Queen and others send messages marking the centenary, we look back at a clandestine meeting in which the staunch unionist James Craig travels to Dublin for talks with the Sinn Fein leader Éamon de Valera. Meanwhile, in Mayo, a whole village is kidnapped by the IRA.
Episode 18: The Long Fellow
To some people, de Valera was responsible for causing a civil war in Ireland. To others he was instrumental in freeing the country from British rule. A man with a passion for maths and opera, he was known to many as ‘The Long Fellow’ because of his great height. By 1921 he’d become leader of Sinn Fein, taken part in an audacious jail break, and would now oppose the Treaty negotiated between Ireland and Britain. He became Taoiseach (prime minister) three times, and later President of Ireland.
Episode 17: The Lawmakers and the Lawbreakers
“The Irish Question” has become the Brexit of its day and as the business of setting up the new administration progresses, there are many in Westminster glad to see what they think will be an end to it being discussed. Meanwhile the IRA has gained expertise in guns and bombs. Tara and Declan visit the police museum to see what IRA weaponry looked like 100 years ago, and see the precursors to the peace walls of today.
Episode 16: The Belfast Pogrom
Over a period of 20 months, hundreds of Catholics are thrown out of their jobs, homes and communities, and many of them are killed. Official records of these events are scarce, but Declan and Tara learn of a Belfast priest who recorded the names of those who died in what he called 'The Belfast Pogrom' - a term which remains contentious to this day. Historians John Regan and Gemma Clark explore the motives behind the attacks, which Eamon Phoenix tells the story of the first victim. Warning: this episode contains sounds of gunshots.
Episode 15: The First PM
Edward Carson may have been the man many associate with the birth of Northern Ireland but behind him all the way was the “granite-faced” figure of Sir James Craig. Once it became clear that Ireland would split, Carson retired from frontline politics. Enter the Ulsterman who reflected the view of many unionists in the new state. Tara and Declan explore how he came to be in that position and how he modelled Northern Ireland in his own image.
Episode 14: The Yard
In 1921 Belfast's mighty shipyard is the economic engine of the city and the envy of the world. Tara and Declan explore how events there just months earlier would lead to a wave of violence across the island and change The Yard forever.
Warning: This episode contains sounds of gunshots.