#Brexit coincides with the centenary of #IrishPartition a process extending from 1920 to 1925. Britain’s Government of Ireland Act became operational on 3rd May 1921. In #Pettigo in 1922, British and Irish armies marked formal agreement to the #UlsterBorder. Many felt betrayed by partition and not only those Irish men and women who fought each other in the Civil War. Unionists in the new “Eire” were cut off from the union with Great Britain without consultation and were wary of their place in the new state. The province of Ulster was divided. #Donegal was left with 300+kms of border with 3 of the 6 counties in the UK and an 8km connection with the rest of the Republic and with no access to an urban centre of population in Ulster without crossing into the UK.
The closure of the railways between 1929 and 1959 confirmed #Donegal’s rural isolation. Rural resistance was marked by two railway workers who continued to operate a freight service between Donegal town and Ballyshannon for a month after the official closure before Dublin found out. Fireside border stories of local smuggling and resistance to centralised Governments have been lost over the decades. In more recent times, non-fiction accounts in Colm Toibin’s Bad Blood: A walk along the Irish Border, (1988), Garrett Carr’s The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s border (2017) trace their way along the margin of the #Ulsterborder. The image taken in #Pettigo from Irish Times 1922 was one of those gathered by a couple of German friends in 2019 who sought to understand the implications of this new European border post #Brexit. Can we overcome current bi-polarisation which seeks to set north and south in opposition?