This article examines the embedded nature of memory and identity within place through a case study of the Holy Cross Girls Primary School ‘incident’ in North Belfast. In 2001, whilst walking to and from school, the pupils of this primary school aged between 4-11 years old, faced daily hostile mobs of unionist/loyalists protesters. These protesters threw stones, bottles, balloons filled with urine, fireworks and other projectiles including a blast bomb (Chris Gilligan 2009, 32). The ‘incident’ derived from a culmination of long-term sectarian tensions across the interface between nationalist/republican Ardoyne and unionist/loyalist Glenbryn. Utilising oral history interviews conducted in 2016–2017 with twelve young people from the Ardoyne community, it will explore their personal experiences and how this event has shaped their identities, memory, understanding of the conflict and approaches to reconciliation.
This essay was written for ‘Dealing with the Legacy of Conflict in Northern Ireland through engagement and Dialogue’, a Journal by Glencree in conjunction with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and Ulster University. The Journal forms part of Glencree’s Peace IV ‘Addressing the Legacy of Violence through Facilitated Dialogue’ project which focuses on creating meaningful, purposeful and sustained contact between victims/survivors groups, and representatives of groups and individuals with differing interpretations of what happened in Northern Ireland’s past. It also aims to create forums to share learnings from these dialogues on a national and International basis.
Featuring contributions from 19 authors, including academics and practitioners in the fields of peace studies and conflict resolution, the Glencree Journal brings a keen focus to many of the issues that are intrinsic to the Peace IV Project. It will also help to inform practitioners in a wide variety of fields of future pathways to sustaining a just and equitable society in a post-conflict situation. The Journal essays were peer reviewed by the Editorial Team led by Professor Ray Murphy of the Irish Human Rights Centre at NUI Galway, Professor Patricia Lundy, Dr Niall Gilmartin and Dr Philip McDermott of Ulster University, and Dr Rory Finegan, Maynooth University and formerly Assistant Manager (2020) at Glencree of the Peace IV ‘Addressing the Legacy of Violence through Facilitated Dialogue’ Project.
A project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).