Subject matter

The period known as the Troubles refers to a violent thirty-year conflict in Northern Ireland. It was framed by a civil rights march in Londonderry on 5 October 1968 and the Good Friday Agreement on 10 April 1998.

At the heart of the conflict lay the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.

The goal of the unionist and overwhelmingly Protestant majority was to remain part of the United Kingdom.

The goal of the nationalist minority - who were almost exclusively Catholic - was to become part of the Republic of Ireland.

The scale of the killings perpetrated by all sides - loyalist and republican paramilitaries and the security forces - eventually exceeded 3,600. As many as 50,000 people were physically maimed or injured, with countless others psychologically damaged.

Violence on the streets of Northern Ireland was commonplace and spilled over into Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and as far afield as Gibraltar.

Several attempts to find a political solution failed until the Good Friday Agreement, which restored self-government to Northern Ireland and brought an end to the Troubles.