Northern Ireland

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  • History: The Full Story

The North of Ireland from the 1960s: from the troubles to peace

In 1921, Ireland was divided into two parts; the twenty-six counties in the Irish Free State and the six counties in Northern Ireland. In 1937 the Irish Free State was renamed Éire. In 1949, Éire became a republic. Northern Ireland continued to be part of Britain.

Between 1945 and 1965, thousands of new houses were built in the north of Ireland and a good health system was introduced. People could get free dental services and free medical services.

Unrest in Northern Ireland

However, not everyone was happy in the 1950s and 1960s due to the way in which Northern Ireland was being governed. At the time Northern Ireland had two main groups of people living in it. The Ulster Protestants were one group and they wanted the North to remain part of the United Kingdom. They were called Unionists because they wanted to keep the union with Britain. The other group was smaller and made up only about a third of the population of the North. They were the Catholics. Many of the Catholics, though not all of them, wanted to break the union with Britain.