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Ulster 71: How Northern Ireland's half-centenary was marked

Celebrating Northern Ireland's centenary has, perhaps predictably, divided opinion. So, how was the 50th anniversary marked? Don Anderson, who covered it for BBC NI, reports

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Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Comedian Jimmy Young reflected life here in its rawness

Comedian Jimmy Young reflected life here in its rawness

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Memories of the past: scenes from the Ulster 71 festival exhibition TV documentary

Anniversaries can be one of the curses of a history-obsessed society. Amid uncomfortable political rumblings, evidenced already by controversy involving merely a portrait of a poet, the Secretary of State Brandon Lewis welcomed plans for a Centenary Forum and Historical Advisory Panel as part of the Government's plans to mark 100 years of Northern Ireland.

Some might wonder why the UK Government wants to celebrate at all, because the creation of Northern Ireland also represented a colossal fracture of the United Kingdom with most of Ireland leaving the UK - a huge loss of territory. Only the oddest of nations could celebrate shrinkage of its borders.

Furthermore, in an unfortunate coincidence for those wishing to celebrate the centenary, 2021 will mark yet another colossal fracture, the completion of Brexit, which has made necessary a transactional border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Small wonder the Government rejected having a celebratory postage stamp. Some wag might have suggested it have perforations down the middle.


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