Struggling with Memory: Oral History and Reconciliation in Belfast Communities

  • Claire Hackett


This article documents the processes and challenges involved in gathering oral history narratives in the context of contested memories and experiences of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The work of the Dúchas oral history archive is outlined and in particular its outreach to divided communities in Belfast to gather and record personal experiences of the conflict. The connection between oral history and reconciliation is discussed as a process of building relationships across contested memories. The limitations of the work in achieving a shared narrative is also discussed. Testimony from the archive is analysed to illustrate the value of oral history in revealing the dynamics of division and connection during the conflict.


  1. Hamber, Brandon, and Grainne Kelly, Reconciliation: A Working Definition (Democratic Dialogue, 2004).Google Scholar
  2. Government of Northern Ireland, Violence and Civil Disturbances in Dorthern Ireland in 1969. Report of Tribunal of Inquiry (Belfast, 1972).Google Scholar
  3. Whelan, Kevin in Storytelling as the Vehicle? Conference Report. Healing Through Remembering (Belfast, 2006).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Falls Community CouncilBelfastUK

Personalised recommendations