Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2015

Degree Type



Heather Gautney, Ph.D.


This thesis examines the history of the conflict involving Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom that eventually led to the period of time in history known as the Troubles (1968-1998) Within this span of time, a war was fought in Northern Ireland between the Republicans and the Unionists / Loyalists. The Republicans had a strong sense of Irish national identity. They believed and still believe that Northern Ireland should be united with Ireland. The Unionists and Loyalists, on the other hand, were loyal to Britain and the Queen. They believed and still believe in Northern Ireland’s union with Great Britain. Religion was not the cause of the Troubles; however, it was an underlying tone in many paramilitary attacks and was and still is a line of divide in many towns across Northern Ireland. Republicans were generally Catholic while Unionists and Loyalists were predominantly Protestant. This thesis aims to determine if the Troubles are over and, if they are, who won and who lost. It will achieve these goals through the use of personal interviews with people who had first-hand accounts of the Troubles and current news articles and polls that examine Northern Ireland today. From analyzing these sources, this paper concludes that the Troubles are not over because 1) violence still exists today, 2) the Good Friday Agreement did not solve the problem of identity and nationalism and, 3) the memories, legacies, and wounds created by the Troubles are too fresh and strong to be forgotten, 4) just because there is no longer as much violence as there used to be does not mean that the war is over, it means that the war is different. The fight for a united Ireland is still being fought; however, it is changing.