Troubled Images at
Boston College

One of the Northern Ireland posters on display at the John J. Burns Library, Boston College.
One of the Northern Ireland posters on display at the John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

By Irish America Staff
April / May 2003

A powerful new exhibit of propaganda posters from the bloody conflict in Northern Ireland kicks off an international tour in Boston this March.

Boston College’s John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections has assembled 70 posters of political and terrorist propaganda created during The Troubles, representing all sides of the war.

“This exhibition brings home to people, in the starkest manner possible, what has been going on in Northern Ireland for the past 30 years,” said B.C. Burns Librarian Robert O’Neill.

Entitled “Troubled Images,” samples of work include loyalist paramilitary recruitment posters as well as posters commemorating key events on the Republican side, such as the early 1980s hunger strikes and the terrible events of Bloody Sunday in Derry. Organizers point out that these artifacts were often literally torn from lampposts, walls, and other public areas over the course of the past three decades.

“Troubled Images” is coming to Boston College after a year-long show at Linen Hall Library, the oldest library in Belfast. Linen Hall houses what is known as the Northern Ireland Political Collection, from which “Troubled Images” has been drawn. The Sunday Times of London noted that the exhibition “has enthralled so many foreign visitors that it is going on a world tour of universities and educational institutions with a view of giving people a flavor of the divisions that tore the province apart.”

Following its run at Boston College, which lasts until April 15, “Troubled Images” will move on to the Meridian International Centre in Washington (from May-June 2003), the State Library of New Hampshire (July-August), the Glucksman Ireland House in New York City (September-early October), the Graduate School of International Relations, University of Denver (late October-November), with later dates to be confirmed at the University of Milwaukee, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, California, the Ireland Institute in Pittsburgh, and a Montreal venue to be announced.  ♦

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