A Place Apart : Northern Ireland in the 1970s


At the height of The Troubles, Dervla Murphy bicycled to Northern Ireland to try to understand the situation by speaking to people on either side of the divide.  She also sought to interrogate her own opinions and emotions.  As an Irishwoman and traveller who had only ever spent thirty-six hours of her forty-four years over the border to the north, why had she been so reluctant to engage with the issues?

Despite her own family connections to the IRA, she travelled north largely unfettered by sectarian loyalities.  Armed instead with an indefatigable curiosity, a fine ear for anecdote, an ability to stand her own at the bar and a penetrating intelligence, she navigated her way through horrifying situations, and sometimes found herself among people stiff with hate and grief.  But equally, she discovered an unquenchable thirst for life and peace, a spirit that refused to die.

'An extraordinarily successful attempt to present Northern Ireland from inside out, with honesty, sympathy and understanding.' TLS



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