A Troubling Time: A Cycle of Prejudice and Anxiety in 20th Century Ireland


Inequalities between the Catholic and Protestant populations strained relations, leading to peaceful demonstrations which often deteriorated into violent rioting. But as issues like the housing crisis reveal, the roots of the problems were not in the violence, but in the political and social structures in place, and the anxieties they caused. Such structures include culturally and politically enforced segregation, physical barriers, and unequal opportunities. The cycle of prejudice increased fear and anxiety on both sides.

National Identity All Catholic Protestant and Other Christian Other religions No religion
British 48.4% 12.9% 81.6% 50.1% 55.9%
Irish 28.4% 57.2% 3.9% 12.4% 14.0%
Northern Irish 29.4% 30.7% 26.9% 18.0% 35.2%
English, Scottish, or Welsh 1.6% 0.8% 1.5% 2.9% 5.2%
All other 3.4% 4.4% 0.1% 29.1% 7.1%

There are a number of different terms for the two sides of the Northern Ireland conflict. This project will be grouping Unionist, Loyalist, and Protestant together as those wanting to keep ties with Britain, and Nationalist, Republican, and Catholics as those wanting to separate from Britain become independent. Although it is a generalization to affiliate Catholics with Nationalists and Protestants with Unionists, the majority of Catholics voted Nationalist and most Protestants voted Unionist.

We suggest you begin with the brief history, followed by the timeline. However, we will provide all of links to our other pages so you can access them in whatever order you choose. At the bottom of our main pages, we will give the link for our next suggested page, as well as the link to the timeline and back to this page, labeled as introduction. Our timeline will include links to brief analyses or more information on some of the dates described.

Brief History


Unionist Politics

Political Structures to Social Anxieties

Catholic and Protestant Relations 

Nationalist Politics 

Peace Talks

Northern Ireland Today

Works Cited and About Us