The Peoples’ War: Three Oral Histories of the British Army in Northern Ireland

Kate Riordon


In the late 1960s violence broke out on the city streets of Northern Ireland – a reaction to politically charged and religiously influenced tensions that had been building in the country for centuries. This paper, based on research of the popular history and supplemented by interviews conducted with veterans who served during “the Troubles,” explores the more personal side of the conflict. It discusses both the soldiers’ experiences as well as how the presence of the British Army affected the lives of the local Irish for both better and worse. Through the interviews, first-hand accounts serve to explain how a modern country with a reputation for joviality and amity spent decades in a civil war — a civil war that would determine Ireland’s standing as a country. Above all, this paper strives to understand how the cultural, political, and religious natures of Northern Ireland affected and continue to influence the people today.

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