The following paper was written by one of my sons in 2008. He was a senior in high school at the time. I’m putting it up here as an example of a research paper for my students, and their parents. There is an annotated Bibliography on the end, it should provide examples of most things that need to be sited in a Bib. It’s also a good summary of the conflicts over the past 50 years (or 400 years) in Ireland. Let me know if it was helpful.
The people of Northern Ireland have endured a bloody and brutal conflict for centuries caused by religious, cultural and political prejudices. The Troubles, as the conflict is known in Ireland, has heightened the division between two different peoples, Catholics and Protestants. So, how is compromise found with the blood of over 3500 dead staining the streets and hearts of Northern Ireland? Where is peace in a community so divided? Is there a solution in a land where bigotry and hate dominate the political landscape? The heartbreaking complexity of the Northern Irish conflict is summed up in this account by Seamus Heaney in a lecture when he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995:
“One of the most harrowing moments in the whole history of the harrowing of the heart in Northern Ireland came when a minibus full of workers being driven home one January evening in 1976 was held up by armed and masked men and the occupants of the van ordered at gunpoint to line up at the side of the road. Then one of the masked executioners said to them, “Any Catholics among you, step out here”. As it happened, this particular group, with one exception, were all Protestants, so the presumption must have been that the masked men were Protestant paramilitaries about to carry out a tit-for-tat sectarian killing of the Catholic as the odd man out, the one who would have been presumed to be in sympathy with the IRA and all its actions. It was a terrible moment for him, caught between dread and witness, but he did make a motion to step forward. Then, the story goes, in that split second of decision, and in the relative cover of the winter evening darkness, he felt the hand of the Protestant worker next to him take his hand and squeeze it in a signal that said no, don’t move, we’ll not betray you, nobody need know what faith or party you belong to. All in vain, however, for the man stepped out of the line; but instead of finding a gun at his temple, he was thrown backward and away as the gunmen opened fire on those remaining in the line, for these were not Protestant terrorists, but members, presumably, of the Provisional IRA.” (more…)