Beyond the Troubles

Beyond the Troubles

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Cave Hill, Dungannon, East Belfast, Killough, Linen Hall Library, Mourne Mountains, Queen's University Belfast





1hr 37min 35sec







Courtesy of Flying Fox Films


Channel 4, Flying Fox Films

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Channel 4, Flying Fox Films

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Directed by David Hammond, this three-part documentary sees Brian Keenan reflect on his childhood, growing up in East Belfast, and the extent to which it shaped his sense of identity. Aside from Keenan, various members of the unionist and nationalist communities in Northern Ireland ponder the question of identity and share their opinions on 'The Troubles'. 

Against a backdrop of loyalist murals, Keenan introduces the programme with a powerful observation, "The Troubles are real, the war is long, for some people 25 years long. It began in 1969, when British troops entered a province, in an attempt to stifle what seemed to be an impending explosion of sectarian fire". As Keenan acknowledges, his thoughts and feelings regarding the situation in of Northern Ireland were, perhaps, heightened by the five years he spent in captivity, in Beirut.

Various topics and points of view are explored throughout the programme. The writer, Glenn Patterson, originally from Belfast, moved away for a number of years but has recently returned to the city. He expresses his weariness, in hearing the same old quarrels and how he grew up with an acceptance or, even, an expectation of death. The desensitizing impact of the conflict and the diminishing of empathy, is just one of the impacts that he observes. 


Brian Keenan is a Northern Irish writer, who was taken hostage from the American University, Beirut, on 11th April 1986. He spent the best part of five years sharing a cell with Journalist, John McCarthy, who had gone to Beirut to cover his story. After his release - which was made possible due to the Irish government, as the British government had a policy were they did not negotiate with terrorists - Keenan released a book,

An Evil Cradling, documenting his experiences.


A Flying Fox Films Production for Channel 4.  

Director: David Hammond  

Producers: Catherine Gifford and Neil Martin  

Assistant: Jane Tubb 

Editor: Martin Duffy  

Photography: Conor Hammond

Assistant : Angela Conway 

Sound: Deke Thompson and Ian Burns 

Lighting: Carlo McDonnell 

Music : Micheal O Suilleabhain 

Contributors: Maggie O'Kane, Gerry Dawe, Jonathon Bardon, Rita Duffy, Glenn Patterson, Maurice Hayes, Patsy McCooey, Ivan Herbison and Monsignor Brendan Devlin



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