Once Upon a Time In Northern Ireland

Five-part series concludes tonight with more testimonies of the men, women and children who lived through decades of turmoil.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN NORTHERN IRELAND, a powerful new five-part series, gives voice to the people who lived through Northern Ireland’s violent past by sharing intimate, unheard testimonies from all sides of the conflict. The series combines unfiltered personal accounts with archival footage to tell the story of the people and communities that had to live with conflict daily — and are still dealing with its legacies today.  The series has been streaming for free since May and will broadcast Monday and Tuesday at 8:00pm and Wednesday at 9:00pm.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN NORTHERN IRELAND runs chronologically from the beginning of The Troubles in the late 1960s to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement signed 25 years ago, in April 1998.

Episode 1 “It Wasn’t Like a Movie Anymore”
Monday, August 28, 8:00 p.m.
The opening episode charts Northern Ireland’s progression from relative peace to fullblown conflict. When tensions between Catholic and Protestant communities explode, the British Army is deployed. When 13 unarmed Catholics are shot dead in Derry by British Paratroopers, the world looks on in shock. Known as “Bloody Sunday,” it has far reaching political consequences and is seen by some as a recruitment drive for the Provisional IRA.

Episode 2 “Do Paramilitaries Lie Awake at Night?”
Monday, August 28, 9:00 p.m.
It is now 1972, and a deeply segregated society has emerged, with many Catholic and Protestant working-class communities policed by paramilitary organizations. Hatred and fear of the ‘other side’ are endemic, as is a devotion to one’s own culture and traditions. Six months after Bloody Sunday, the IRA explode 19 bombs across Belfast in an hour, killing nine and injuring 130 others. But punk music emerges as a unifying force for some young Catholics and Protestants, who defy the chaos and segregated world around them.

Episode 3 “So Many Broken Hearts”
Tuesday, August 29, 8:00 p.m.
The devastating impact of the conflict is explored through the stories of three women as IRA prisoners begin their hunger strike in protest against Margaret Thatcher’s policies. Tit for tat killings, car bombs and assassinations are now part of everyday life in Northern Ireland. Fatigue, from a population desperate for a respite from the violence, is creeping in.

Episode 4 “The Dirty War”
Tuesday, August 29, 9:00 p.m.
By the late 1980s, the news in Northern Ireland is a daily list of the dead — but 14 bloody days in March 1988 mark a new level of harrowing savagery. The conflict also becomes an  intelligence war, as the move to prevent further terrorist violence is concentrated on infiltrating paramilitary organizations. “Trust nobody” is the mantra as fear and suspicion permeate all parts of everyday life.

Episode 5 “Who Wants to Live Like That?”
Wednesday, August 30, 9:00 p.m.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton controversially invites Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein (often referred to then as the ‘IRA's political wing’), to the United States. For some it’s a symbol of international support for peace talks. But others, whose families have been devastated by the violence, are horrified. The episode follows the long process of negotiation and continued unrest through the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

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