The new season of The Irish Passport podcast is here

The second season of The Irish Passport podcast has arrived.

If you haven’t heard the podcast yet, it’s a ‘passport’ to Irish culture, history and politics. It gives the low-down on the unfinished history that explains today’s news.

I’m a journalist, and the show combines my reporting on current affairs with the historical insight of my co-host Tim Mc Inerney, who is a lecturer in British and Irish cultural history.

We launched the podcast out of a sense of urgency that there was a fundamental gap in knowledge about Ireland and its history that was about to have international repercussions in the Brexit negotiations. Our first episode was about the border for that reason.

We followed up with a special episode on unionism, as the UK snap election result crashed the DUP’s website as so many people rushed to find out who they were.

A theme was emerging. Why was Ireland, and especially Northern Ireland, so invisible to Britain?

The Knowledge Gap

Our episode on what we call the ‘Knowledge Gap’ sought to answer that question by investigating the history that is taught in schools in the UK. We discovered that even for the small percentage of students who take history as a subject in England and Wales, it is possible for them to learn British history without studying Ireland at all.

Never mind that the ‘Irish Question’ drove British politics for over a century.

Never mind that Ireland’s secession from the UK reduced its landmass by almost a quarter and forced it to change its name.

Never mind that Europe’s bloodiest internal conflict since World War Two was fought over these matters, within the UK, within recent memory.

Our finale to Season One zeroed in on the latter. ‘The Invisible War’ investigated how it was possible that Northern Ireland was so ignored in the Brexit campaign, when the implications for the province were so drastic.

To find out, I subjected some English friends to a pop quiz on Irish history. To sum up their responses: ‘What war?’

A United Ireland

We have now returned for a second season, and to kick it off we examined the question of a United Ireland.

Before the Brexit vote was held, people living along the border told me that they expected the question of a United Ireland to be revived if the UK voted to leave the European Union. Their prediction has very much been borne out.

This episode explores the anti-sectarian history of the aspiration to ‘unite Ireland’, and lays out the implications of the latest twist in the Brexit negotiations for the future of the province.

You can listen to the episode and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Acast, Stitcher, and many other apps, or directly on our website.

We are also launching a mini-series, ‘Half Pints’, which will be exclusively available to supporters of  The Irish Passport podcast on Patreon. So if you like what we do and would like to hear more of it, do sign up.