For some in the North, it is a barrier that protects them from poverty and popery. For some in the South, it is a barrier that protects them from violence and sectarianism. For others on the island, it’s a barrier to unity, peace and prosperity. For some, it is an international frontier. For others, it is a minor, local irritant. Many have died attacking it, others have died defending it. It is clear that the Border, like other barriers of skin, gender, religion and place, has thrown up its quota of ignorance, prejudice and phobia. All people on this island live in its shadow. Until very recently, most Irish people tended to identify themselves politically and culturally, and were identified as such by others, by their attitude to the Border." (Paddy Logue, The Border 1999, 7-8)
The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is deeply political since it is the product of the partition of Ireland and fundamental to the existence of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. It is thus often seen primarily in relation to the contested political status of Northern Ireland. However, there is also increasing attention not only to the political meaning and symbolism of the border but also to its social and economic effects. Many border groups and organisations are addressing these effects and wider issues of identity and division within the border counties. Follow the links to the left for further information about these different perspectives on the border.