Land and Power: Making a New Map of Ireland's Border

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The author discusses the process behind a map of his creation, ‘‘A View of the Border.’’ It charts Ireland’s north/south frontier and has been used to illustrate the author’s 2017 monograph, The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s Border.

Defending or questioning the legitimacy of Ireland’s border is still a defining force in Ireland’s politics, especially in Northern Ireland. In addition, this border is soon to become the United Kingdom’s only land border with the European
Union. The author takes issue with the borderline symbol on maps, suggesting that the reduction of Ireland to a binary has negative ramifications in political discourse – contributing to an us-versus-them stalemate. On the ground, Ireland’s border is largely invisible and almost completely permeable; the author wondered if the border could be mapped in a way that would reflect this. To identify original modes of mapping the frontier, the author travelled the borderline from end to end. The resulting map charts defensive architecture and historical sites, as well as unofficial cross-border routes and other subjects. Many topographic elements on ‘‘A View of the Border’’ do not generally appear on maps; the author explains the thinking behind the inclusion of some of these elements and discusses designing the icons used represent them.

The conclusion asks if any of the creative decisions made in ‘‘A View of the Border’’ could be applied to maps other border regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2017


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