For thirty years, from 1968 to 1998, Northern Ireland was rocked by violent conflict. Sectarian division and unrest (between the Protestant and Catholic communities) was not a new phenomenon, but it was during the late sixties that this came to a head. In January 1967, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was established. Its objective being to end discrimination against the catholic minority through reform in areas such as housing, employment, and political representation. Organised civil rights marches took place in 1968 but by August 1969 these had descended into violence between NICRA supporters, loyalists (mostly protestants), and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), starting off the period known locally as ‘The Troubles’. A surgeon, speaking about the period drew upon Charles Dickens, and the quote which forms the title of this article, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ This paradoxical statement, that despite the dangers and destruction of the period it was ‘the best of times’ has been a common theme expressed by the medical staff interviewed as part of the author’s research, and the contradictory nature of staff experience will be discussed here.
|Journal||History Studies | Journal of the University of Limerick History Society|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Apr 2019|