Can this deeply divided island ever be united?
Malachi O’ Doherty’ s ground-breaking new book explores this salient question and many more. Considering centuries of history alongside contemporary issues, he looks for answers by talking to those who know the island best: those who live there. O’ Doherty speaks to politicians, journalists, writers, lawyers, sportspeople and residents of both the North and the Republic, to produce the most comprehensive picture yet of a divided nation and its uncertain future.
This book asks the big political questions about the prospects of reconciliation between North and South, but it also goes behind the upfront attitudes of parties and factions to ask what really drives people’ s sense of who they are, and whether a more inclusive national identity can be reached.
The Irish nation still defines itself by the legacy of a freedom struggle, a legacy cherished and celebrated by major political parties while at the same time aspiring to absorb a people and a region which is determinedly British. Can two parts of a partitioned island put that legacy behind them, and if so, how would they jointly define Ireland’ s sovereign national character after that?
Malachi O’ Doherty was born in Muff, County Donegal, Ireland, and grew up in Belfast. He was a teacher to Libyan soldiers, a ghostwriter for an Indian guru, a contributor to BBC Northern Ireland and is a regular writer for the Belfast Telegraph. Much of his writing career coincided with the Northern Irish Troubles. He has written numerous books about that period, including Fifty Years On: The Troubles and the Struggle for Change in Northern Ireland (Atlantic Books, 2020) and Gerry Adams: An Unauthorised Life (Faber and Faber, 2018).
Table of Contents
1. In The Beginning
2. What Are We Like?
3. Who Are We, Really?
4. Paddy Was There Too
7. The Language
8. The Stories We Tell Ourselves
10. Up From The Country
12. Unionists In A United Ireland
13. Ireland’ s Future
14. Those To Be Persuaded
15. Can Ireland Be Two?
16. Why Bother?
17. Forward to Confusion