Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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Exploring what led to the creation of Northern Ireland in 1921

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A specially commissioned podcast to mark the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland in 1921 is available now on BBC Sounds.

Year ’21 explores what led to the creation of Northern Ireland a century ago, with contributors from a wide range of perspectives helping to piece together the jigsaw of 1921.

Recorded weekly throughout this year, presenters Tara Mills and Declan Harvey take listeners with them as they discover more about the past.

Driven by their curiosity to understand the place where they live, they look at historical facts and hear how life has developed over the past 100 years.

They also meet people with interesting stories and opinions to bring history to life and they examine the parallels between then and now.

There are 18 episodes currently available to binge listen to, with some featuring stories of the main protagonists of 100 years ago, including Michael Collins, James Craig, Edward Carson, Joe Devlin and Eamon DeValera.

With new episodes being added each week, the podcasts also consider the roles of lesser known characters like Sir Ernest Clark, the civil servant whose job it was to set up the architecture of the new state. And the women who’ve been largely neglected in the history books.

Edward Carson’s great-grandson tells the podcast how the former Ulster Unionist leader really felt about partition. And Declan is reunited with his former German teacher, who just so happens to be Michael Collins’ great niece.

Tara said: “Wherever you are from on this Island you’ve inherited something from 1921, whether that’s a strong sense of identity or a tragic personal family loss.

“Those experiences were really intense for some families and the scars are still obvious when you talk to people about the role their ancestors played, or the way in which they were targeted.

“It’s been a fascinating journey of discovery for us and one of the really interesting themes is where families often didn’t ever mention what happened to them in 1921 but then a generation later someone who is now in their 50s or 60s has taken up the story and begun to research their family history.”

Declan said: “This podcast started because we had loads of questions about what happened in 1921, but we had no idea so many others had the same questions and the response from listeners has been really encouraging.

“Thousands of people are already really buying into the stories and following the journey with us week-by-week.

“This is the history lesson we were never taught and we’re really trying to bring the events to life, sharing the tragedy and the lighter moments of that remarkable year.

“It’s also great for helping everyone understand Northern Ireland in 2021 – we even spot when politicians repeat the exact same soundbites from a century ago.”

n Year ’21 is available now as a series to download on BBC Sounds.

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