‘It’s about life and death’: Frampton vs Kielty

As the finale event of the Docs Ireland film festival, boxing legend Carl Frampton and comedian/presenter Patrick Kielty had a one-to-one conversation with an audience of over a hundred at the Cineworld complex, interspersed with clips from their documentary films and interviews with others on the topics of Northern Ireland’s contentious past and outlooks for the future. The first clip was from Frampton’s “Men in Crisis”, where his interviewee Ryan (22:54) discusses his emotions in dealing with the suicide of …

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Something Unresolved – The 50th Anniversary of Bloody Friday…

The room was spartan. Two chairs, a few books on a table and a filing cabinet. Where she kept notes, no doubt – on other stragglers who’d dragged their excess baggage up the stairs. I told of the house purchase gone wrong, how stupid I felt, and the sense of being trapped. She wrote something down. ‘If only I could get an unbroken night’s sleep, I might be able to cope.’ She asked when that problem started. I weighed up …

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‘My coping mechanism is talking, seeking peace and reconciliation’

  Alan McBride’s personal journey is well known, but remarkable nonetheless. It was in 1993 that his wife Sharon and her father Desmond Frizzell were killed in an IRA bomb attack on the family fish shop in Belfast’s Shankill Road. But with immense dignity, Alan has since dedicated his life to reconciliation and progress, as well as campaigning on behalf of victims. He is the latest interviewee in the Holywell Trust Forward Together podcasts. Alan admits that initially after Sharon …

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Lost Lives Reminds us we can’t Forget…

For Terry Maguire, a recent BBC programme, Lost Lives, featuring deaths in the Troubles, triggered a flashback on his way to work. This caused him to reflect on an incident he witnessed as a schoolboy in Derry in 1972, making him reassess his long-held view that the Troubles had no personal impact. As I walked to work in darkness one morning in 2020, work tasks and concerns swirled unhelpfully in my half-awakened mind. When I reached the entrance of the …

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I Would Like Some Compensation… £2950 Will Do Nicely…

I walked home from work one night. That happened a lot forty odd years ago. No buses and too many people trying to get a black taxi. Larry McCoubrey was reading the news and he mentioned a robbery at my place of work. “Did you know about that” said my mother. “That was me mammy”. My mother never knew all the details. A gun was put into my mouth and the guy said he would blow my xxxxing head off. …

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A wee trouble

Everyone’s birthday seems to be in March, so a weekend in the old place is an annual event. While out for dinner, the waitress asks us to wait a wee minute while she takes our wee order. This is a pet hate of both my aunt and my wife, and we enjoy a session of collective eye-rolling in response. To top that, a few days later comes another sublime episode of Derry Girls, in which the wee English fella James …

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Reflecting on motherhood and transgenerational trauma…

Today I’m preparing for my 11th meeting with the World Mental Health Survey initiative, in Harvard. At my first meeting in 2005, Professor Brendan Bunting, Dr Sam Murphy and myself were planning the NI study of Health and Stress (NISHS), the largest study of mental health in NI, and part of an incredible initiative, which studied the rates of mental illness, treated and hidden, in countries all over the world. In 2005, we were having discussed whether people here would …

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