Birth of the Border: The Impact of Partition in Ireland


Cormac Moore

October 2019

Most comprehensive account to date of the true impact of the partition of Ireland on all aspects of life and society.


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The 1921 partition of Ireland had huge ramifications for almost all aspects of Irish life and was directly responsible for hundreds of deaths and injuries, with thousands displaced from their homes and many more forced from their jobs. Two new justice systems were created; the effects on the major religions were profound, with both jurisdictions adopting wholly different approaches; and major disruptions were caused in crossing the border, with invasive checks and stops becoming the norm.

And yet, many bodies remained administered on an all-Ireland basis. The major religions remained all-Ireland bodies. Most trade unions maintained a 32-county presence, as did most sports, trade bodies, charities and other voluntary groups. Politically, however, the new jurisdictions moved further and further apart, while socially and culturally there were differences as well as links between north and south that remain to this day.

Very little has been written on the actual effects of partition, the-day-to-day implications, and the complex ways that society, north and south, was truly and meaningfully affected. Birth of the Border: The Impact of Partition in Ireland is the most comprehensive account to date on the far-reaching effects of the partitioning of Ireland.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Uncertainty and Confusion of Partition

  1. Towards Partition
  2. The Government of Ireland Act 1920
  3. ‘Armed only with a table, a chair and an Act of Parliament’
  4. Northern Ireland is Born
  5. The Treaty
  6. Politics
  7. Security
  8. Law
  9. Business and Trade
  10. Religion
  11. Education
  12. The Labour Movement
  13. Infrastructure and Services
  14. Sport

Conclusion: The Impact of Partition
Sources and Bibliography

Praise for Birth of the Border

‘This is a very well researched book, covering a great deal of ground not trodden by other accounts, which confine themselves to the politico-military dimensions of partition. Even those familiar with the topic will find much that is new in Birth of the Border.’
John Dorney, The Irish Story

About the Author

Cormac Moore is a Dublin-based historian and is currently working with Dublin City Council on its Decade of Commemorations programme. He has published widely on Irish history including two books: The GAA V Douglas Hyde: The Removal of Ireland’s First President as GAA Patron (2012) and The Irish Soccer Split (2015).