Skip To Content

    These Pictures Show What Life Looked Like During The Troubles

    The future of the Irish border is one of the key issues of the Brexit negotiations. Because of its sensitive history, there are fears over what might happen if a hard border and checkpoints returned.

    Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

    1921: Members of the Irish delegation at the signing of the Irish Free State Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland. The delegation includes (seated from left) Sinn Féin founder Arthur Griffith, E.J. Duggan, Irish Minister for Finance Michael Collins, politician Robert Barton, author Robert Erskine Childers (standing from left), lawyer George Gavan Duffy, and John Chartres.

    Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

    1921: Republicans protest in the streets of Dublin against the hanging of Irish Republican Army volunteers by the British government.

    Walshe / Getty Images

    1921: Soldiers have a meal in the remains of the Custom House, Dublin (headquarters of the British Civil Service in Ireland), burned by the IRA during nationalist unrest.

    Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

    1922: Catholic children from Belfast are relocated in Dublin during the Irish Civil War.

    Keystone / Getty Images

    1939: Crowds march through the streets of Dublin to commemorate the Easter Rising, the armed uprising of Irish nationalists against British rule in Ireland.

    Bentley Archive / Getty Images

    1969: A boy with a petrol bomb wears a gas mask to protect himself from tear gas during the riots in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

    Bentley Archive / Getty Images

    1969: A protester in Derry/Londonderry during the Northern Ireland riots.

    Pa Images / Getty Images

    1969: A British armoured car moves through Strabane, County Tyrone.

    Independent News And Media / Getty Images

    1969: As buildings burn, British Army troops patrol the streets after being deployed to end the Battle of the Bogside in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The conflict, beginning on Aug. 12 and ending on Aug. 15 with the arrival of the army, involved police officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the citizens of the Bogside neighbourhood. It was one of the first major incidents of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

    James Jackson / Getty Images

    1969: British soldiers stop a man trying to carry his baby through a barbed-wire barricade on the Catholic Falls Road area of Belfast.

    Hulton Deutsch / Getty Images

    1970: Soldiers of the British Army display an arsenal of firearms and other weapons during a period of civil rights riots in Belfast.

    Michael Stroud / Getty Images

    1970: Irish women hand out food at a civil rights march in the Falls Road area of Belfast.

    Malcolm Stroud / Getty Images

    1970: A commandeered bus is driven backwards through a line of women calling for an end to the violence during riots in Falls Road.

    Mirrorpix / Getty Images

    1971: Soldiers seek cover from stone-throwing demonstrators hide behind a wall.

    Rolls Press / Getty Images

    1971: Residents of the Protestant Sandy Row area of South Belfast, where a loyalist mural depicts King William III (William of Orange) on horseback.

    Bentley Archive / Getty Images

    1971: A British soldier (injured in a bomb explosion) is dragged away by others.

    Ray Bellisario / Getty Images

    1971: The Orange Order march through Belfast, watched over by British soldiers behind a barbed wire barricade.

    Alain Dejean / Getty Images

    1971: Pedestrians walk past soldiers crouched on a street corner. Conflicts broke out in Belfast in reaction to the British government's Aug. 9 decision to make it possible to send alleged members of the IRA to prison without a trial.


    Alain Dejean / Getty Images

    1971: Soldiers patrol the debris-covered streets after conflicts broke out in Belfast in reaction to the British government's decision allowing suspected IRA members to be imprisoned without a trial.

    McBride / Mirrorpix / Getty Images

    1971: British army soldiers blow up an unapproved road on the Northern Ireland border with the Republic of Ireland on Oct. 13.

    Leif Skoogfors / Getty Images

    1972:Irish civil rights activist and politician Michael Farrell in Belfast.

    Hulton Deutsch / Getty Images

    1972: Members of the Ulster Defence Association, a Loyalist paramilitary organisation, form a barricade on a Belfast street.

    William L. Rukeyser / Getty Images

    1972: Young people confront British soldiers minutes before paratroopers opened fire, killing 14 civilians on what became known as Bloody Sunday. The standoff is near barricade 14 on William Street in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

    William L. Rukeyser / Getty Images

    1972: A victim of Bloody Sunday.

    Independent News And Media / Getty Images

    1972: The remains of the 13 people who died on Bloody Sunday. A 14th victim died months later from his injuries.

    Frank Barratt / Getty Images

    1972: Bernadette Devlin, Independent Unity MP for Mid-Ulster and founder member of the People's Democracy movement, gives her side of the story to the press at the House of Commons after she punched Home Secretary Reginald Maudling for lying about Bloody Sunday.

    M. Stroud / Getty Images

    1972: Grieving relatives of the victims of the Bloody Sunday massacre.

    David Lomax / Getty Images

    1972: Masked members of the Loyalist Ulster Defence Association (UDA) detain two hooded IRA suspects in Belfast.

    Pa Images / Getty Images

    1972: The dawn scene in the Creggan Estate as a Centurian tank and an armoured troop carrier advance through the deserted streets. More than 2,000 men from four battalions backed by 600 vehicles went in to destroy the barricades that had effectively cut off the Bogside and Creggan areas for nearly three years.

    Keystone Features / Getty Images

    1972: Residents of Belfast queue up for British soldiers to search their bags at a checkpoint leading out of the city's shopping area.

    Michael Ledger / Getty Images

    1973: A police officer escorts barrister Caesar James Crespi to safety after he was injured in an IRA car bomb blast outside the Old Bailey courthouse in London.

    Ullstein Bild / Getty Images

    Mid-1970s: Children "playing" IRA in Derry/Londonderry.

    Wesley / Getty Images

    1974: The wrecked interior of the Mulberry Bush public house in Birmingham after the explosion of a bomb planted by the IRA. A second bomb exploded that night at another Birmingham pub, the Tavern in the Town. Nineteen people were killed in the two explosions and many were injured.


    Christine Spengler / Getty Images

    1976: The Bogside nationalist neighbourhood outside the city walls of Derry/Londonderry.

    Alex Bowie / Getty Images

    1978: View from a British Army Observation Post on the roof of a council tower block overlooking the republican New Lodge area of Belfast. In the distance lies Belfast Castle and Cavehill.

    Central Press / Getty Images

    1979: The wreckage of Airey Neave's car leaving the House of Commons underground car park in Westminster. The Tory spokesperson on Northern Ireland was assassinated by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

    Jacob Sutton / Getty Images

    1981: A demonstration in support of IRA member Bobby Sands and the other prisoners on hunger strike; Sands died two days later.

    Central Press / Getty Images

    1981: A Belfast girl chats to a soldier out patrolling the streets in the Falls Road area.

    John Downing / Getty Images

    1984: British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband, Denis, leave the Grand Hotel in Brighton, after a bomb attack by the IRA. With them is Margaret's friend and aide Cynthia Crawford. They, alongside many other politicians, were staying at the hotel during the Conservative Party conference.

    Kaveh Kazemi / Getty Images

    1985: A Falls Road mural warns informers against betraying the nationalist community.

    Kaveh Kazemi / Getty Images

    1985: Loyalists protesting the Anglo-Irish Agreement – granting the Irish government an advisory role in Northern Ireland's government – march past one of the Peace Lines separating Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods in Belfast.

    Chris Bacon - Pa Images / Getty Images

    1987: A massive bomb blast at a remembrance ceremony at Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, which killed 11 people and injured hundreds more. Most of the victims were elderly.

    Bernard Bisson / Getty Images

    1988: Following a grenade attack, people help a wounded man in a cemetery during the funeral for three IRA members.

    Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

    1989: Gerry Conlon, one of the "Guildford Four," leaves the Old Bailey, London, with his sisters after the sentences in the case were quashed. Conlon had been convicted, alongside three others, of IRA bombings in Guildford and spent 16 years in prison. The four were released after it was found that evidence had been fabricated by police. Two years later the "Birmingham Six" also walked free.

    Pa Images / Getty Images

    1991: A white van burns outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall after an attempted mortar bomb attack on Downing Street.

    Tom Stoddart Archive / Getty Images

    1996: The scene at Canary Wharf in east London after the IRA detonated a bomb that killed two people.

    Paul Barker - Pa Images / Getty Images

    1996: Firefighters at the scene of an IRA bomb blast in Manchester city centre.

    Independent News And Media / Getty Images

    1998: The cleanup in progress following the deadly Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland.

    Sean Gallup / Getty Images

    1999: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern present a joint British–Irish Blueprint for implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, signed the previous year by Catholic and Protestant leaders and drawn up to bring peace to Northern Ireland.


    Pa Images / Getty Images

    2007: Democratic Unionist Party leader the Reverend Ian Paisley (left) and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speak to the media during a press conference at the Stormont Assembly building in Belfast.

    Photobyte / Alamy Stock Photo

    2007: The Bloody Sunday mural by the Bogside Artists, in Bogside, Derry/Londonderry.

    Wpa Pool / Getty Images

    2014: Queen Elizabeth and Ireland's president, Michael D. Higgins, greet (from left) Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, first minister Peter Robinson, and Britain's secretary of state for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers as Sabina Higgins and Prince Philip look on. The event, organised as part of Higgins' four-day state visit, comes three years after the Queen made a groundbreaking trip to the republic, which helped to heal deep-rooted unease and put British–Irish relations on a new footing.

    Paul Faith / AFP / Getty Images

    2018: The road markings here change from white (Northern Ireland) to yellow (Ireland) on the border outside the town of Clones, County Monaghan. For people living in and around the Drummully Polyp, life without an open border is unimaginable and a reminder of the bad old days of checkpoints.

    CORRECTION

    The headline on this article has been updated to better reflect the nature of the photographs, which primarily focus on The Troubles in Northern Ireland.



    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form