The Story of Ireland (2011) s01e05 Episode Script

The Age of Nations

FERGAL KEANE: 1reland's modern story begins in an age of empire, but it will be convulsed by revolution- The old order is overthrown- The religious conflict that has endured for 3OO years will lead to the division of 1reland for the first time in history- From the beginning of the story of 1reland, the island has been shaped by events beyond its shores, and this is never more true than in the modern era- In an age of world wars when Europe is twice rent apart by hatred, when tens of millions die in the name of ideology and nationalism, Ireland, too, will experience dramatic upheaval.
1t is an age in which the island's people will confront not only the legacy of history, but the very idea of what it means to be 1rish- Early in the last century, my forebears lived here in middle-class respectability in the city of Cork- 1t was a world dominated by the British Empire, and Cork was a thriving garrison city- My great-grandfather was a sergeant in the Royal 1rish Constabulary- But his service records are not kept in Cork- They're here at the National Archives in Kew- Here he is.
40739, Hassett, Patrick.
5ft 1 0, same height as myself, from County Clare.
In his mind, there was nothing unusual about him being sent, as we can see here, to serve in Belfast, because it was all one Ireland at the time.
And he wouldn't have seen any contradiction between supporting the monarchy, but also supporting the idea of Home Rule for Ireland, because, remember, if Home Rule was granted, the country was still going to stay within the British Empire.
And that empire really framed the world in which my great-grandfather grew up and in which he lived- Yet the image of a serene 1reland was deceptive- An 1rish Catholic would never rise to the top of the R1C- 1n Her Majesty's Civil Service, Catholics were noticeably absent from the more senior posts- The Act of Union had given Catholics economic power, but their political destiny remained in the hands of London- As the century turned, a view of an 1rish future utterly separate from Britain was finding expression in cultural revival- One of the many artists attempting to forge a new national consciousness was the poet and playwright William Butler Yeats- 1n 1 9O3, with Lady Augusta Gregory, he founded the Abbey Theatre- 1t would see the production of their play Kathleen Ni Houlihan, which represented 1reland as a beautiful woman for whom young men would sacrifice their lives- ''They shall be alive for ever,'' Yeats wrote- Later he would ask, ''Did that play of mine send out certain men the English shot?'' The cultural revival in sports, literature and theatre was profoundly influenced by the fear that 1reland was becoming British- MAN: There's a fear that Ireland is losing its identity, that if a new generation does not embrace identity and national sentiment and the national language and so on, that something is going to be lost, irretrievably lost.
FERGAL: What was being written and talked about here in Dublin chimed with nationalist sentiments across the world.
In 1 91 1, Sun Yat-sen had declared his revolution in China.
The following year, the African National Congress was founded in South Africa.
And closer, in the Balkans, Serbian plotters were preparing acts that would change the world.
Here in Ireland, the long dominance of those who'd advocated change through peaceful means was about to be challenged.
Across Europe, there are premonitions of a cataclysm that will make a new world- 1n 1reland, a poet and teacher declared bloodshed a cleansing and sanctifying thing- 1nspired by Christ and the warriors of Gaelic myth, Patrick Pearse had come to idealise martyrdom- Pearse was the son of an English father and an 1rish mother- At St Enda's, his school outside Dublin, he declared it his mission to counter what he called the murder machine of British education- Pearse told his pupils to be ready to work hard for the fatherland and, if necessary, to die for it- Pearse joined the 1rish Republican Brotherhood, committed to the overthrow of imperial rule- His alienation from the bourgeois world of his childhood would deepen when he watched the combined forces of state power and a Catholic-led business elite suppress the 1 91 3 strike in Dublin- But the conditions in which Patrick Pearse and other radicals would rebel were created by the British Government's attempts at reform- 1n 1 91 2, the Liberal Cabinet moved to introduce Home Rule, but in keeping a promise to 1rish Catholics, it provoked the anger of Ulster Protestants- Home Rule was seen as an attempt to undo the Plantation of Ulster.
It was seen as an attempt to bring the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, to bring them top, to effect a social revolution that would have seen Protestant Ulster, the Ulster that they had built, destroyed.
Protestant opposition was led by a man misrepresented as much by his allies as his enemies- Edward Carson was a Dublin lawyer who to this day remains the great icon of Ulster Loyalism- Carson had been a fierce cross-examiner of his old college friend Oscar Wilde during a libel trial in which the writer denied his homosexuality- But this man, appropriated as an implacable Ulster Unionist, began with a very different agenda- Most Irish people would regard Carson as the arch partitionist, but that's not what Carson is about.
Carson is about sustaining the union between Great Britain and all of Ireland, not just the northeastern corner.
And he wants to make that union work for the benefit of all Irish people.
But Carson understood that only in Ulster was there a Protestant population large enough to mobilise against Home Rule- 0n September 28th 1 91 2, here in Belfast City Hall, Edward Carson signed a solemn covenant pledging to defend Ulster from Home Rule.
Almost a quarter of a million men followed his example.
But how were they going to back up this declaration with deeds? The Ulster Unionist leadership now made a momentous decision.
The Ulster Volunteer Force, formed in 1 91 3, directly challenged the state- 1t was encouraged in its threats of rebellion by British Conservatives, yet the Government took no action- Nationalists reacted by founding the 1rish Volunteers to protect Home Rule- They were joined by the 1rish Citizen Army, led by James Connolly, a Glasgow-born socialist who'd come to prominence in the 1 91 3 strike in Dublin- MAN: When this paramilitarisation develops in the North, the reaction in nationalist Ireland is excitement.
It's not fear.
It's not a sense that a civil war may happen.
It's, this is what Irishmen should do.
Time and again, you hear it said famously about Patrick Pearse that, ''to see arms in the hands of Irishmen is an ennobling thing'', even if they're in the hands of Ulster Unionist Irishmen.
FERGAL: It was, of course, a grand delusion.
Both nationalists and the British Government seemed to have forgotten the bitter struggles with Loyalists over Home Rule in the previous century.
It was as if they believed Ulster Protestants would eventually, peacefully, come round to the idea.
But the Loyalists were busy arming themselves to fight whoever tried to impose Home Rule- 0n 24th and 25th April 1 91 4, 25,000 rifles and three million rounds of ammunition were brought in through Larne and other ports and distributed across Ulster.
These were German weapons being imported at a time of mounting international tension.
It would be hard to imagine a greater challenge to the authority of the state.
And yet the Government did nothing.
But when nationalists imported guns the following July, they were confronted- This double standard helped to radicalise many more moderate nationalists- Tension steadily escalated until 1reland's quarrel was suddenly interrupted- MAN: During the First World War, you get a sea-change in the nature of Irish political opinion.
People who had been thinking that constitutional methods would work changed their mind and felt that they wouldn't.
People who felt that a more moderate goal was legitimate changed their minds and wanted something more radical.
The war would claim the lives of as many as 3O,OOO 1rishmen- More than 2OO,OOO served- To the moderate 1rish nationalist leader John Redmond, the war was a chance to make the case to Unionists for Home Rule- Catholics would show their loyalty to the empire- But as the war dragged on and casualties mounted, fears grew that Britain would introduce conscription in 1reland- Redmond's call to arms looked increasingly to have been a serious political mistake.
There was growing disillusionment among nationalists, but Ireland wasn't seething with anti-British fervour.
It would take the events of Easter 1 91 6 to create the cataclysm.
As Britain floundered on the Western Front, a small group of plotters gathered in Dublin- They were a minority, even within the revolutionary Republican Brotherhood- They included poets and hardened rebels, Pearse, who dreamed of blood sacrifice, and the champion of a workers'republic,James Connolly- They plotted the downfall of empire in 1reland here above the tobacco shop of the veteran 1RB man Tom Clarke- The rebels decided to move on Easter Sunday, date of Christ's resurrection- But the orders were countermanded by moderates- 1n the chaos of order and counter-order, Pearse, Connolly and the other radicals made a fateful decision- They would strike with a drastically reduced force in Dublin on Easter Monday 1 91 6- A detachment of Connolly's Citizen Army attacked Dublin Castle, symbol and seat of British power, but were repulsed- The main body of rebels led by Pearse and Connolly rushed down Sackville Street and took over the General Post Office- They raised the 1rish tricolour above the building- Pearse stepped outside and read from a proclamation signed by himself and the six other leaders- He declared an 1rish republic- ''1n the name of God and the dead generations, 1reland through us ''summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom-'' A witness watching from a balcony opposite described how boys quickly gathered up any copies of the proclamation they could find, because, as he put it, they would be worth a fiver when the beggars were hanged.
The British were caught unawares, but by the end of the week, they outnumbered the rebels by ten to one- From the River Liffey, a gunboat fired- 1rish regiments also fought the rebels- The Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who were drawn principally from the working-class districts of the city, were being rushed up along the quays here to join the battle near the GP0, when a shot rang out from a sniper across the river.
Lieutenant Gerald Neilan, an Irish Catholic, fell dead.
Elsewhere in the city, his younger brother Anthony was fighting on the rebel side.
The majority of the dead of Easter week were civilians killed in the rain of shells and bullets that devastated the city centre in the British counterattack- Pearse and Connolly finally abandoned their headquarters at the GPO, surrendering on April 29th- As the rebels were led into captivity, they were jeered and jostled by the crowd.
Many of the most vociferous were women whose husbands were away fighting on the Western Front.
The rising had been crushed, and public opinion now seemed set against the rebels.
Until the British made a grave miscalculation.
The leaders were brought here to Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin and hastily court-martialled and sentenced to death- 0ver a period of two weeks, 1 4 men were executed here, 1 3 at this end, including Patrick Pearse, and up here, James Connolly, who had to be carried to his execution on a stretcher.
The manner of their deaths and the number of executions would turn these men from being the leaders of a militant minority into martyrs who could be acclaimed by all of nationalist Ireland.
The poet William Butler Yeats sensed the impact of the executions- ''1 write it out in a verse ''MacDonagh and MacBride And Connolly and Pearse ''Now and in time to be ''Wherever green is worn Are changed, changed utterly- ''A terrible beauty is born-'' Public anger deepened following mass arrests and the imposition of martial law- Here in the military archives in Dublin is a trove of witness accounts from young men who were radicalised by the events of Easter 1 91 6 and who joined the Volunteers in its wake- Matthew Davies from Roscommon - ''In 1 91 6,'' he says, ''I was unattached to any group.
''After the rebellion there was an outcry to execute the fanatics.
''I felt we would have to do something about it.
'' And of course, he formed a Volunteer unit in his area.
The Volunteers evolved into the 1rish Republican Army, and among the young men who flocked to join them was my grandfather, Paddy Hassett, the imperial policeman's son- Why would Paddy Hassett turn his back on that family tradition of service to the empire? The biggest factor was what had happened in Ireland.
The impact of the 1 91 6 rising and the executions and the round-ups that took place after it.
I sense that that was what turned my grandfather and many, many other young men like him, against the British.
But if the great cause of the 1rish revolution had been a united republic, the consequence was very different- I think after 1 91 6, with the dead dedicated to a republic, the fires of Easter week have forged a new national identity, which is to be Republican.
Ulster Unionists find nothing in that whatsoever.
They found little, if anything, in Home Rule - there's absolutely nothing for them in an Irish republic.
It makes partition inevitable.
1n the 1 91 8 general election, Sinn Fein, led by veterans of the rising, won a sweeping majority- But instead of going to Westminster, the party set up an 1rish republic- The Sinn Fein leader was Eamon de Valera, and his finance minister, Michael Collins- 1n an atmosphere made worse by renewed British threats of conscription, Collins would find himself directing a guerrilla war- The 1RA campaign which began in 1 91 9 was met with fierce reprisals against civilians by security forces like the Black and Tans- A state-sanctioned policy of reprisal increased public support for the 1RA- And 1rishmen killed fellow 1rishmen- Police shot 1RA men and vice versa- This is my father's hometown of Listowel in County Kerry- 0n 20th January 1 921, an IRA squad was lying in wait at Church Street.
The man they were going to attack, District Inspector Tobias 0'Sullivan of the Royal Irish Constabulary, was coming up the street with his five-year-old son.
The IRA squad ran up to him and shot him dead in front of the child.
Now, the version of the story that I was given growing up was that a British soldier, not an Irish policeman, had been killed.
Nor was there any mention that he'd been holding his child's hand when he was murdered.
It was as if some parts of the story were simply too painful to tell.
O'Sullivan had taken part in a raid on a nearby village- After two years of violence, both sides declared themselves ready to talk- 1n October 1 92 1, a Sinn Fein delegation led by Michael Collins arrived in London to discuss a political settlement- Michael Collins arrived as the 20th century's first celebrity rebel.
In terms of his public image, a kind of Che Guevara for his age.
But here, Collins would encounter a British negotiating team led by Lloyd George that was both experienced and tough.
Whatever else might be conceded, an Irish republic was not on offer.
26 counties of Southern 1reland would become the 1rish Free State, with its own army but swearing an Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown- The Government had already allowed the six Protestant-dominated counties of Ulster to form a new state within the United Kingdom- But it wasn't Ulster that caused crisis for the 1rish side- 1n Dublin, de Valera accused Collins of having agreed to the Oath of Allegiance without his consent- When the Dail convened in Dublin in December 1 92 1, de Valera denounced the Oath of Allegiance as an abandonment of the republic- Collins argued that the treaty gave 1reland the freedom to achieve freedom- The one-time comrades became bitter enemies- When the vote on the treaty came, it was perilously close - 64 votes for, 57 against- De Valera led his supporters out of the Dail.
As they went, Michael Collins shouted, ''Deserters, all!'' The slide to civil war had begun.
A majority of the people supported the treaty, but couldn't stop a war characterised by extreme ruthlessness- Both sides committed atrocities- At Ballyseedy Cross in County Kerry, nine Republican prisoners were tied to a log and blown to pieces by a land mine, retaliation for the killing of Free State soldiers- The government army gradually captured the Republican strongholds- But on 22nd August 1 922, Michael Collins was assassinated in County Cork- The Free State would triumph, but his loss was devastating- 1n death, Collins would become a romantic icon, the great lost leader- Yet in some of his last writings, he espoused a patriotic pragmatism- ''True devotion,''Collins wrote, ''lay not in melodramatic defiance ''or self-sacrifice, but in steady, earnest effort-'' By the time the civil war ended in 1 92 3, Ireland was a very different country to the united and equal nation imagined by the revolutionaries of 1 91 6.
The revolution had driven the British out.
But it had also consolidated the prevailing social reality.
This was a Catholic, largely rural and, above all, conservative society.
1t was a society not dissimilar to that imagined by 1reland's first political titans- The settled country imagined by Daniel O'Connell, hero of Catholic emancipation in the 1 9th century- An 1reland of landowners, such as Charles Stewart Parnell envisioned, and which his Land League had done so much to create- A society whose fundamental desire now was for stability- 1n the Protestant-ruled six counties of Ulster, electoral boundaries had been drawn to ensure majorities for Unionists in most areas- There had been fierce retribution against Catholics following 1RA violence- More than 8,OOO were driven from theirjobs, hundreds were killed- The Prime Minister James Craig was a patrician landowner and proud Orangeman- ALVIN JACKS0N: Catholic Northern Ireland, Catholic Ulster, does not really feature in his political agenda.
Craig, I think, associates Catholicism with a challenge to the state that he finds himself ruler of.
He associates Catholicism with subversion.
But Unionism comes together from a variety of very different institutions and forces.
It's absolutely not a monolithic group, and it contains a spectrum of those who are ferocious in their anti-Catholicism, across towards a more liberal take on the Union and Unionism.
Across the river is Donegal in the South.
This is Clady in County Tyrone, one of the six counties of the new Northern Ireland state.
The Prime Minister James Craig had built here a Protestant state for a Protestant people.
Many years later, a Unionist leader trying to forge peace with nationalists would ruefully acknowledge that this had been a cold house for Catholics, a place of discrimination and exclusion.
TH0MAS BARTLETT: Catholics materially were better off in Northern Ireland than they were in the Irish Free State.
But politics matters more than economics.
Catholics were not welcome, and that was clear.
They had to listen to a tirade of abuse coming up to 1 2th July every year.
They had to listen to Unionist politicians boasting that they'd never employed a Catholic, never would employ a Catholic, wouldn't have one around the place.
That sort of chilly feeling of not being wanted produces serious disaffection.
But in the South, the new government of Cumann na nGaedheal, led by Michael Collins'heirs, had neither the military means, economic power or desire to wage a war of territorial redemption- The South opted for stability- Even with the arrival in power in 1 932 of Eamon de Valera, now leading the Fianna Fail party, rhetoric would be a comforting substitute for action- Ireland united, Ireland free, these are the ideals to which enthusiastic young Ireland is now devoting its energy.
TH0MAS BARTLETT: Whatever the rhetoric, whatever the propaganda campaigns, de Valera realised that unification was not going to happen, and he may even have seen advantages in that.
I think the majority of Southerners were quite happy that Northern Ireland was gone, that the wretched Unionists were corralled in their area, and were not coming down and not interfering with their setup in the South.
The founding father of 1rish nationalism, Wolfe Tone, imagined a nation that united Catholic, Protestant and dissenter- But 1reland was now an island of two states in which religion would be a primary badge of identity- Here at the Phoenix Park in 1 932, vast crowds gathered for a religious festival that would symbolise the character of the new Irish state.
Whatever rhetorical gestures might be made to the Protestants of Ulster, this was a Catholic nation.
MAN: The clergy, for somebody like de Valera, were very important.
They were his advisors.
The leaders also had brothers who were priests or nuns.
That clerical establishment was very much integrated in a way that, if you were a political leader, the likelihood is that, if you were a Catholic, you would not be very distant from some relative or brother who was in orders or a nun.
De Valera's landmark constitution of 1 937 avoided making Catholicism the state religion, offering instead a vaguer special position- Since the 1 9th century, Church power had been deeply embedded- 1reland was a nation of mass devotion, and the overwhelming majority of children were educated in Church-run schools- But this central role came at a price- Church control of education was close to absolute, but its power also extended deep into the criminal justice system.
This is the old Letterfrack Industrial School in County Galway.
It was one of a network of such institutions up and down the country where the state consigned children.
Many of these institutions were set up under British rule- The new rulers of 1reland would prove as inadequate as the old in protecting the young- Physical and sexual abuse on a large scale was part of the secret history of the new state- MAN: You were constantly waiting to be set upon.
St Joseph's Industrial School, Letterfrack, was an extremely violent place in an extremely violent Irish society.
Mannix Flynn, who came from a poor Dublin background, was sent to Letterfrack in the early 1 96Os- An individual I saw one night being dragged out of the bed, his head beaten against a wall.
What blood came out of the person, the brother then dragged this young boy up and down the dormitory, wiping him in his own blood to clean it off the floor.
Depending on what kind of venom the individual who was perpetrating the violence on you, whatever brother or whatever civilian it was that was attached to the school, it could last for weeks.
They were children from working-class backgrounds, from mixed families.
Some of them were the children of mothers who had children out of wedlock.
Some of them were from other institutions, having been in orphanages and orphaned.
They were the dirty poor that didn't fit into the emerging Irish Catholic middle classes.
This society, since the foundation of the state, has continued the containment of a class of people, a segregation of a class of people that it sees as God's mistake.
Church influence spread far beyond the care of the young- From the bishops'palaces came regular diktats on cultural morality- Eamon de Valera's friend, the Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, kept a close eye on the republic's creative spirits- His files are a trove of insight into the thinking of the archbishop on a whole range of issues- This is the box relating to censorship.
And in it, there's a letter from a parish priest who wants to put on a showing for his parishioners of the 0scar-winning movie Gigi- But the plan has to be abandoned.
Why? Well, according to this file, the film contains a reference to a prostitute.
Banned were some of the greatest names in the 1rish literary canon- James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Frank O'Connor and scores of others- And yet in this atmosphere of constraint, 1rish literature flourished- Literature acquired a kind of weird glamour by virtue of being persecuted, probably in the way it did in Soviet Russia.
If you say these people are important enough to suppress, you are saying they are very damned important.
Remarkable talents like Flann O'Brien produced defiantly 1rish masterpieces in a European surrealist tradition- DECLAN KIBERD: It's as if the radicalism got annulled in political politics and rerouted almost entirely into literature.
The more repression there was at an official daylight level, the more creatively deranged the texts produced.
It's as if the Irish were straights by day and swingers by night.
De Valera followed Church advice on morality, but it was not his obsession- From the time he came to power in 1 932, through his 1 6 years in office, his central preoccupation was 1rish sovereignty- When World War 11 broke out, de Valera resisted Churchill's urgings to join the fight- 1reland remained neutral- DIARMAID FERRITER: There was a considerable degree of public support for that stance, and there was a considerable degree of pride in the idea that we could go our own way.
Partly because this is a country that is still relatively raw from the civil war.
And if de Valera had decided to go in and fight on the part of the Allies, it could well have divided the body politic.
But it was an ambiguous neutrality- When the German air force attacked Belfast, de Valera sent firemen to help fight the blaze- Germans bailing out over the South were interned, while their Allied counterparts were allowed to return to Ulster- When the 1RA declared war against Britain, de Valera imprisoned and even executed its members- Yet, on Hitler's death, de Valera offered his condolences to Germany- While Europe burned, de Valera set out his vision for an 1reland that would be distinctive in its culture and values- REC0RDING 0F DE VALERA: The Ireland that we dreamed of would be the home of a people who valued material wealth only as a basis for right living.
0f a people who, satisfied with frugal comfort, devoted their leisure to the things of the spirit.
A land whose countryside would be bright with cosy homesteads, with the romping of sturdy children, and the laughter of happy maidens.
Yet to cast this giant of the 1rish 2Oth century as an inward-looking nationalist would be wrong- He had chaired the League of Nations- The avoidance of wars and of the burden of preparatory armament is of such concern to humanity that no state should be permitted to jeopardise the common interest by selfish action contrary to the covenant.
When the League was succeeded by the United Nations, de Valera made striking gestures of independence- From Dublin came his instructions to support Red China's application to join the UN, to the horror of America- He established the commitment which saw 1rish troops serve in their thousands on peacekeeping missions- There is a real paradox here.
De Valera was well aware of Ireland's international role, yet his vision for the Irish demanded that they remain uncontaminated by foreign ideas.
It was a vision at odds with modernity.
Economic conflict with Britain had damaged 1reland at the outset of his rule- Stagnation deepened with the years- Around half a million people would leave 1reland, most seeking a better life in Britain, the country de Valera had spent his life fighting against for 1rish sovereignty- If you had to characterise the Ireland of de Valera, how would you describe it? MAN: Very inward-looking.
Very complacent.
And most of all, very poor.
The last week in secondary school, the headmaster came in and asked us, those of us who were in the class - there were about 30 of us in the class - how many of us saw our future in Ireland, and the answer was two out of the 30.
I was one of those two, by the way.
By the time de Valera retired at the age of 7 7, 1reland wanted change- The leader who took over in 1 959 was another veteran of revolution, but he displayed a steely pragmatism utterly different from de Valera's mystical vision of 1rishness- Sean Lemass encouraged foreign investment, removed trade barriers, urged efficiency and modernisation in industry- We started off like all the other newly free countries, with the assumption that freedom alone was enough and that in freedom, economic difficulties would right themselves.
We found out the hard way that this wasn't so.
1reland had begun to catch up with the great post-war modernisation- The young were beneficiaries of free secondary education and a society again open to outside cultural influence- Television challenged the voice of both priest and politician- Women joined the workforce in growing numbers and challenged discriminatory laws- And across the border, the changing world of the '6Os seemed to inspire a new kind of Unionism- A leader emerged who offered a friendlier face to the Catholic minority and to the South- 1n January 1 965, O'Neill and Lemass made history by meeting together at Stormont - the beginnings of North-South detente- How important is that moment? ALVIN JACKS0N: I think it's symbolically of huge significance.
This is the first official meeting of the two heads of state since the 1 920s.
TERENCE 0'NEILL: We discussed this during our meeting, which of us would get into the most trouble.
I said I would, and he said he would.
He did get into a certain amount of trouble during the first six weeks, but nothing to the trouble that I got into.
IAN PAISLEY: Captain 0'Neill recently said that the South of Ireland was a very beautiful young lady and that he was very glad to talk to her over the hedge.
We don't look upon the South of Ireland as a beautiful young lady ALVIN JACKS0N: The liberal aspirations are very much overdue, but part of the difficulty with the 0'Neill project is 0'Neill himself.
But 0'Neill is an extraordinarily patrician figure who does not connect with nationalism or Unionism and, in the end, is simply not able to deliver the votes.
By 1 968, O'Neill had been outflanked by the older forces of fear- Detente with the South was over- But in this year of rebellion, a movement rises in Northern 1reland to demand equal rights for Catholics- For the Ulster Protestants, the civil rights movement was the old Catholic conspiracy, not a movement for change inspired by the unrest of that momentous year- The following year, sectarian rioting erupted- The 1RA, long in decline, re-emerged to present itself as the people's protector against a hostile state- Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries, policemen and soldiers, fought over the old ground- V0ICE REC0RDING 0F MAN: Nothing fired at them whatsoever.
There weren't even stones thrown at them, and they opened fire.
People ran in all directions.
They call themselves an army.
It was completely outrageous.
NEWSREADER: The bus station was crowded when a bomb went off without warning.
SEC0ND NEWSREADER: Within the space of 1 6 minutes alone, 1 3 blasts sent people screaming from one place of safety to another THIRD NEWSREADER: An army helicopter was flown in to remove the casualties, and this was then caught in a separate explosion.
(SH0UTING, BANGING AND WHISTLING) MARGARET THATCHER: There can be no question of political status.
Crime is crime is crime.
NEWSREADER: The Provisional IRA have said they planted the bomb at the Brighton hotel where Mrs Thatcher and her ministers are staying.
MAN: Politics is the alternative to war.
Politics is about dialogue.
I'll talk to anyone.
That doesn't mean that I approve of what they stand for.
The war occasionally spilled over into the South- But partition had entrenched a separation of the mind- The six counties of Ulster truly seemed a world away- 1n the republic, a younger generation pursued its own narrative of change, pushing at the boundaries of Church and of State- This changing sense of 1rishness was the beginning of an extraordinary journey- The Republic of 1reland now looked increasingly beyond its shores, as part of a European community- Through the decades of change from the '6Os to the '9Os, 1reland moved from stagnation to growth- By the late '9Os, it was among the richest countries in Europe- The country 1'd left in the recession of the 1 98Os was now the Celtic Tiger- Low corporate tax and a highly educated workforce helped to produce record growth- Coming back on holidays during the years of boom, it was hard to suppress a sense of shock at the sheer scale of the development.
Pride, too, in a country that seemed to have shaken off the more inward-looking elements of its historic legacy.
But - and I claim no great prescience here - I also had a lingering unease.
Where was the money coming from? And who exactly was it benefiting? 1nequality between rich and poor was still among the worst in Western Europe- And the idea of a new republic was undermined by the old deference to power- Whatever else might be said about the founding fathers of this state, the revolutionary generation, they were austere men, devoted to public service.
But there emerged in this building a new kind of politician, one who understood that political power could be the pathway to great personal wealth.
The man who came to symbolise the 1rish politics of cronyism was Charles Haughey, leader of the party de Valera had founded- Talented and modernising, yet he lived like an Ascendancy lord, bankrolled by businessmen- W0MAN: Haughey entered a very different Ireland in the 1 960s, demographically and economically.
There were more urban people living in Ireland for the first time, than rural people, in its history.
That brought on all sorts of pressures.
More people wanted access to services, more people were looking for planning permission, where a lot of the corruption in Ireland was.
New politicians stepped in.
They were self-made men.
While 1reland embraced Europe and the technology of modernity, the political system was rooted in 1 9th-century localism- 1reland's new political titan sailed his own yacht to the small island he owned- 1n 1reland, the parish and not the nation remained the centre of the democratic universe- Land, such a fundamental obsession of the 1rish psyche for centuries, was at the centre of the new clamber for wealth- Beginning in the 1 96Os, bribes had been paid to rezone green fields for building development- The lost fields of de Valera's Gaelic idyll were the new currency of wealth and power- Even as the country boomed, judicial tribunals revealed the scale of corruption in 1rish public life- ELAINE BYRNE: The Moriarty Tribunal, which sat in this very yard, estimated that between 1 979 and 1 996, for a substantive phase when Charles Haughey was Taoiseach during that time, he received over nine million in donations.
There seems to be a very clear relationship between Haughey receiving substantive amounts of donations when he was in power, and when he wasn't in power, he didn't seem to receive that much money at all.
As 1reland turned towards a new millennium, the gleaming buildings rose- But old certainties unravelled- Scandals rocked the authority of the Church as the full scale of clerical child abuse was revealed- The tribunals continued to hear allegations of corruption in public life- Yet prosperity and the old habits of deference insured public quiescence- DIARMAID FERRITER: It's often been remarked that the Irish people are very sophisticated politically, that the Irish are very defiant, that the Irish are rebels.
Now, when you contrast that with the lack of protest, with the lack of civic engagement, with the lack of a demand for accountability, for the abuse of power, you have to ask yourself, are a lot of those assertions about the Irish character and Irish rebelliousness actually mythical? But in 2OO8, a financial catastrophe unleashed public anger- 1reland's economy was already in decline when America's property bubble exploded- 1n 1reland, prices collapsed- Thousands were forced to emigrate- The ghost estates became the symbol of a nation in decline- Here, opposite Kilmainham Gaol, where the leaders of 1 91 6 were executed, there's a monument which stands next to the empty office buildings of the Celtic Tiger- 1t reminds the 1rish people of the proclamation of a nation that would cherish all its children- As Ireland enters the second decade of the 21 st century, there seemed the possibility that the old way of doing things might be overthrown.
This wasn't a transformation that could happen overnight or in the space of one election.
But there were deeper stirrings of dissent that suggested that an entire political culture could be changed.
And there was already a recent powerful example of that here on the island, in a place we might least have expected.
MAN: If what has been agreed is implemented in full good faith, all of the people of Northern Ireland will gain.
There are no victors, nor any losers.
SEC0ND MAN: The agreement proposes changes in the Irish constitution and in British constitutional law to enshrine the principle that it is the people of Northern Ireland who will decide, democratically, their own future.
I think the change came when war-weariness overtook war-readiness, and I think that happens sometime in the 1 980s, and certainly by the early 1 990s there was the feeling that this cannot go on.
We're into the second generation now.
People were committing atrocities who had not been born when the Troubles began.
(EXPL0SI0N) The peace has so far endured the challenge of unreconciled Republican dissidents- But the pain of 3O years of killing haunts quiet living rooms across Ulster- W0MAN: We want better lives for our children and our grandchildren and their children too.
FERGAL: That's a lovely photograph of the two of you, in a harbour somewhere.
- In Ardglass.
- Right.
- Down at the coast.
- Yeah.
Bridget Mooney's husband, Raymond, was murdered in the grounds of a church in September 1 986 in retaliation for the 1RA murder of a leading Loyalist- That's where we had our wedding reception.
So, this is the two of you on the day of your wedding? - It is indeed.
- Where were you married? In Ardoyne.
So were you married in the same church - Raymond would later be murdered in? - Yeah.
And all of my grandchildren who have been born so far, all of them christened in Ardoyne.
So much of this conflict - and I'm not just talking about what's happened in the last 30 years, but for hundreds of years - has been driven by fear and by hatred.
I just wonder, do you feel hatred, now, towards the people who killed your husband? No.
For the simple reason, if Hatred and bitterness are feelings and I refuse to let people who took my husband's life have any place in my body, in my heart, in my head.
And no, I hate nobody.
Have you ever wanted to, and have you ever thought about, leaving Northern Ireland? Never.
Not while my husband's body's in the city cemetery.
And I've never even thought about it, no.
And I'll never leave Northern Ireland now.
The poet John Hewitt, writing at the height of the Troubles, urged that we should, ''Bear in mind these dead: I can find no plainer words.
'' He was reflecting on a conflict in which men killed and died for the sake of contested identities.
This was not, Hewitt implied, patriotism.
''Patriotism has to do with keeping the country in good heart, ''the community ordered with justice and mercy.
'' Hewitt's lines might stand as one of the enduring lessons of the Irish story.
MAN: The decommissioning of the arms of the IRA is now an accomplished fact.
The 1RA abandoned war, and Unionists agreed to share power with Catholics- After 3O years of war, in which more than 3,5OO people died, the 1RA accepted the partitioned 1reland agreed by Michael Collins and the British- Unity was an aspiration to be achieved by peaceful means- 1n the South, the romantic nationalism of earlier generations had largely vanished- When the republic voted to abandon its territorial claim on the six counties, it seemed an act of practical patriotism- It's an acceptance of political reality and an acceptance of engagement with the outside world, including Northern Ireland.
We no longer have to, as it were, wave the flag.
There's a feeling of Irishness that is real, and much deeper, in my view, than what existed in the '30s and '40s.
The republic is now having to accommodate a broader sense of 1rishness- There is racism, but far-right politics have not taken root here- How many children have parents who are from outside of Ireland? How about yourself? Where are your parents from? - Russian.
- And you over here? - Poland.
- Lithuania.
Lithuania, and Poland as well.
1 O% of the population of the South is now foreign-born- These are the children of those who came here in the boom to find work- (THEY CHANT IN IRISH) Economic globalisation changed the idea of 1rish identity- The old concept of an Irish identity, the one that I grew up with, which was that being Irish was Gaelic and Catholic, that's gone, really, hasn't it? There are still plenty of Gaels around, plenty of Catholics around, but what's nice about the time we're entering now is the sense that you don't have to be both of those things to be Irish and that Irish identity now can draw from many, many, many wells, and we're going to build, between us, the Ireland of tomorrow.
And who can say what Irish identity will morph into? The first inhabitants of this island came from Europe- They were open to change and absorbed waves of invasion- They embraced a spiritual revolution and carried it to distant lands- The old hatreds have not vanished, but the 1rish have moved to peaceful co-existence- There has been famine, revolution and civil war- But in an age of uncertainty, we can surely draw strength from the memory of what has been overcome- The story of Ireland has always been a narrative of change, unpredictable and dynamic.
The past is no longer a melancholy burden or a reason to hate.
We're never entirely free of the claims of history, but neither are we its prisoners.
Ireland today is an island of possibility, an open island.