Cold War heritage in Northern Ireland

Dr James O’Neill will unearth archaeological resources and uncover records that demonstrates how the Cold War impacted upon Northern Ireland during the 20th century. This presentation will take place on Thursday 24 October at 1.00 pm.

About the talk

Basic Facts For most who remember it, the Cold War was a period of tension between the USA and its NATO allies, and the Soviet Union and their Warsaw Pact satellites. Facing off behind vast nuclear arsenals, the world faced the real possibility of nuclear catastrophe from 1949-1989.

In Northern Ireland, all these events may have appeared a long way off, but the Cold War threatened to be a global battlefield and the arms and infrastructure produced by it were also global. Northern Ireland was no exception as the arms race and technological wizardry that would have been used to fight this war has left their mark across the landscape. However, it is not always obvious, as structures were often buried or concealed on restricted military camps.

This talk will highlight the remains left by cold warriors, examine how the government perceived the effect of nuclear strikes on Northern Ireland and how they hoped to survive and continue beyond the apocalyptic devastation which thankfully never came.

James worked in archaeology in Northern Ireland for 16 years, where he specialised in battlefield archaeology and twentieth century defence heritage.

In 2008 he jumped ship to the join the history fraternity at Queens University Belfast in 2008. His doctoral research focused on the military aspects of the Nine Years War, also known as Tyrone’s Rebellion. During a two-year fellowship in University College Cork, he rewrote this work into a monograph which has been recently published by Four Courts Press titled The Nine Years War 1593-1603: O’Neill, Mountjoy and the Military Revolution. He is now a heritage consultant specialising in conflict archaeology.

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