This article lists the major violent and political incidents during The Troubles and peace process in Northern Ireland, from the late 1960s until today. The Troubles (Irish language: Na Trioblóidí
) was a period of conflict in Northern Ireland involving republican and loyalist paramilitaries, the British security forces, and civil rights groups. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the riots of 1968 to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. However, sporadic violence continued after this point. Between 14 July 1969 and 31 December 2001, an estimated 3523 people had been killed in the conflict.
Since 1964, civil rights activists had been protesting against the discrimination of Catholics and Irish nationalists by the Protestant and Unionist-dominated government of Northern Ireland. The civil rights movement called for: 'one man, one vote'; the end to gerrymandered electoral boundaries; the end to discrimination in employment and in the allocation of public housing; repeal of the Special Powers Act (which was used to intern nationalist and republican activists); and the disbanding of the B-Specials (an overwhelmingly Protestant reserve police force which was accused of police brutality against Catholics).
Loyalist led by Ian Paisley, a Protestant fundamentalist preacher, founded the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC) to challenge the civil rights movement. It set up a paramilitary-style wing called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV).
A loyalist group calling itself the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) issued a statement declaring war on the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The group claimed to be composed of "heavily armed Protestants dedicated to this cause". At the time, the IRA was not engaged in armed action, but Irish nationalists/republicans were marking the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Some unionists and loyalists warned "that a revival of the IRA was imminent".
The UVF carried out three attacks on Irish Catholics and Catholic-owned property in Belfast. In the first, a Protestant civilian died when UVF members firebombed the Catholic-owned pub beside her house. In the second, a Catholic civilian was shot dead as he walked home. In the third, the UVF opened-fire on three Catholic civilians as they left a pub, killing one and wounding the others.
Civil rights activists (including Stormont MP Austin Currie) protested against discrimination in the allocation of housing by illegally occupying a house in Caledon, County Tyrone. An unmarried Protestant woman (the secretary of a local Unionist politician) had been given the house ahead of Catholic families with children. The protesters were forcibly removed by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
Northern Ireland's first civil rights march was held. Many more marches would be held over the following year. Loyalists, especially the UCDC and UPV, organized counter-demonstrations to get the marches banned.
A civil rights march was to take place in Derry. When the loyalist Apprentice Boys announced its intention to hold a march at the same place and time, the Government banned the civil rights march. When civil rights activists defied the ban, the RUC baton-charged the crowd and injured over 100 people, including a number of MPs. This led to two days of serious rioting in Derry between Catholics and the RUC. Some consider this to be the beginning of the Troubles.
About 2,000 students from Queen's University Belfast tried to march to Belfast City Hall in protest against 'police brutality' on 5 October in Derry. The march was blocked by loyalists led by Ian Paisley. After the demonstration, a student civil rights group—People's Democracy—was formed.
A People's Democracy march between Belfast and Derry was repeatedly attacked by loyalists and off-duty police (RUC) officers. At Burntollet it was ambushed by ~200 loyalists and off-duty police armed with iron bars, bricks and bottles. The marchers claimed that police did little to protect them. When the march arrived in Derry it was broken up by the RUC, which sparked serious rioting between Irish nationalists and the RUC.
Loyalists—members of the UVF and UPV—bombed water and electricity installations in Northern Ireland. They hoped the attacks would be blamed on the dormant IRA and on elements of the civil rights movement, which was demanding an end to discrimination against Catholics. The loyalists intended to bring down the Unionist Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Terence O'Neill, who had promised some concessions to the civil rights movement. There were six bombings and all were immediately blamed on the IRA. As a response, British soldiers were sent to guard installations. Unionist support for O'Neill waned, and on 28 April he resigned as Prime Minister.
People's Democracy activist Bernadette Devlin became the youngest woman ever elected to Westminster.
A 67-year-old Catholic civilian died after being attacked by RUC officers in Dungiven. Many consider this the first death of the Troubles.
Battle of the Bogside – during an Apprentice Boys march, serious rioting erupted in Derry between Irish nationalists and the RUC. RUC officers, backed by loyalists, entered the nationalist Bogside in armoured cars and tried to suppress the riot by using CS gas, water cannon and eventually firearms. The almost continuous rioting lasted for two days.
Northern Ireland riots of August 1969 – in response to events in Derry, Irish nationalists held protests throughout Northern Ireland. Some of these became violent. In Belfast, loyalists responded by attacking nationalist districts. Rioting also erupted in Newry, Armagh, Crossmaglen, Dungannon, Coalisland and Dungiven. Eight people were shot dead and at least 133 were treated for gunshot wounds. Scores of houses and businesses were burnt-out, most of them owned by Catholics. Thousands of families, mostly Catholics, were forced to flee their homes and refugee camps were set up in the Republic.
Three people were shot dead during street violence in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast. Two were Protestant civilians shot by the British Army and one was an RUC officer shot by the UVF. He was the first RUC officer to be killed in the Troubles. The loyalists "had taken to the streets in protest at the Hunt Report, which recommended the disbandment of the B Specials and disarming of the RUC".
The UVF detonated bombs in the Republic of Ireland. In Dublin it detonated a car bomb near the Garda central detective bureau and telephone exchange headquarters. It also bombed a power station at Ballyshannon, a Wolfe Tone memorial in Bodenstown, and the Daniel O'Connell monument in Dublin.
A split formed in the Irish Republican Army, creating what was to become the Official IRA (OIRA) and Provisional IRA (PIRA).
Following an Orange Order parade, intense riots erupted on the Springfield Road in Belfast. Violence lasted for three days, and the British Army used CS gas for the first time in large quantities. About 38 soldiers and dozens of civilians were injured.
Following the arrest of Bernadette Devlin, intense riots erupted in Derry and Belfast. During the evening, loyalist paramilitaries made incursions into republican areas of Belfast. This led to a prolonged gun battle between republicans and loyalists. Seven people were killed.
Falls Curfew – for three days the British Army imposed a curfew on the Falls Road area of Belfast as they searched for weapons. During the operation they came under attack from the Official IRA (OIRA) and republican rioters. Five civilians were killed, sixty were injured and three hundred were arrested by the British Army. Fifteen soldiers were shot by the OIRA.
Leading Nationalist party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was formed.
Robert Curtis became the first British soldier to die in the Troubles when he was shot by the PIRA on New Lodge Road, Belfast.
Three off-duty Scottish soldiers are killed by the PIRA; 4000 shipyard workers take to the streets to demand internment in response.
Brian Faulkner became the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
The PIRA threw a time bomb into Springfield Road British Army/RUC base in Belfast, killing British Army Sergeant Michael Willetts and wounding seven RUC officers, two British soldiers and eighteen civilians.
During street disturbances, British soldiers shot dead two Catholic civilians in Free Derry. As a result, riots erupted in the city and the SDLP withdrew from Stormont in protest.
Operation Demetrius (or Internment) was introduced in Northern Ireland. The security forces arrested 342 people suspected of supporting paramilitaries. During 9–11 August, fourteen civilians were shot dead by the British Army, and three security forces personnel were shot dead by republicans. In the following days, an estimated 7000 people fled their homes. The vast majority of the dead, imprisoned and refugees were nationalists and Catholics.
During the internment round-up operation in west Belfast, the Parachute Regiment killed 11 unarmed civilians in what became known as the Ballymurphy massacre.
McGurk's Bar bombing – the UVF exploded a bomb at a Catholic-owned pub in Belfast, killing fifteen Catholic civilians and wounding seventeen others. This was the highest death toll from a single incident in Belfast during the Troubles.
Balmoral Furniture Company bombing – a bomb exploded outside a furniture showroom on the mainly-Protestant and loyalist Shankill Road, Belfast. Four civilians (including two babies) were killed and nineteen wounded. The IRA was blamed.
Bloody Sunday – 27 unarmed civilians were shot (of whom 14 were killed) by the British Army during a civil rights march in Derry. This was the highest death toll from a single shooting incident during the Troubles.
Funerals of eleven of those killed on Bloody Sunday. Prayer services held across Ireland. In Dublin, over 30,000 marched to the British Embassy, carrying thirteen replica coffins and black flags. They attacked the Embassy with stones and bottles, then petrol bombs. The building was eventually burnt to the ground.
Aldershot bombing – seven people were killed by an Official IRA car bomb at Aldershot Barracks in England. It was thought to be in retaliation for Bloody Sunday. Six of those killed were female ancillary workers and the seventh was a Roman Catholic British Army chaplain.
Abercorn Restaurant bombing – a bomb exploded in a crowded restaurant in Belfast, killing two civilians and wounding 130. Many were badly maimed.
1972 Donegall Street bombing – the PIRA detonated its first car bomb, on Donegall Street in Belfast. Allegedly due to inadequate warnings, four civilians, two RUC officers and a UDR soldier were killed while 148 people were wounded.
Northern Ireland's Government and Parliament were dissolved by the British Government. Direct rule from Westminster was introduced.
The PIRA exploded twenty-four bombs in towns and cities across Northern Ireland. There was also fourteen shootouts between the PIRA and security forces.
An 11-year-old boy was killed by a rubber bullet fired by the British Army in Belfast. He was the first to die from a rubber bullet impact.
Battle at Springmartin – following a loyalist car bombing of a Catholic-owned pub in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast, clashes erupted between the PIRA, UVF and British Army. Seven people were killed: five civilians (four Catholics, one Protestant), a British soldier and a member of the PIRA youth wing.
Four PIRA volunteers and four civilians were killed when a bomb they were preparing exploded prematurely at a house on Anderson Street, Belfast.
The Official IRA announced a ceasefire. This marked the end of the Official IRA's military campaign.
Springhill Massacre – British snipers shot dead five Catholic civilians and wounded two others in Springhill, Belfast.
There was a series of gun-battles and shootings across Belfast. The PIRA shot dead three British Army soldiers, and the British Army shot dead two civilians and a PIRA volunteer.
There was a series of gun-battles and shootings across Belfast. The PIRA shot dead three British Army soldiers, the British Army shot dead a PIRA volunteer and an OIRA volunteer, while a civilian was shot dead in crossfire.
Bloody Friday – within the space of seventy-five minutes, the PIRA exploded twenty-two bombs in Belfast. Six civilians, two British Army soldiers and one UDA volunteer were killed, while 130 were injured.
Operation Motorman – the British Army used 12,000 soldiers supported by tanks and bulldozers to re-take the "no-go areas" controlled by the PIRA.
Claudy bombing – nine civilians were killed when three car bombs exploded in Claudy, County Londonderry. No group has since claimed responsibility.
Five civilians (four Catholics, one Protestant) were killed in gun attack on the Top of the Hill Bar in Derry. It is believed the UDA was responsible.
British Army snipers shot dead a PIRA volunteer and three civilians at the junction of Edlingham Street and New Lodge Road, Belfast.
The United Loyalist Council held a one-day strike to "re-establish some sort of Protestant or loyalist control over the affairs of the province". Loyalist paramilitaries forcibly tried to stop many people going to work and to close any businesses that had opened. There were eight bombings and thirty-five arsons. Three loyalist paramilitaries and one civilian were killed.
The PIRA undertook its first operation in Great Britain, when it planted four car bombs in London. Ten members of the PIRA team were arrested at Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the country.
Five British Army soldiers were killed by a PIRA booby-trap bomb in Omagh, County Tyrone.
1973 Coleraine bombings – six Protestant civilians were killed and 33 wounded by a PIRA car bomb in Coleraine, County Londonderry. The warning given before the explosion had been inadequate.
Northern Ireland Assembly elections took place.
Mountjoy Prison escape – three PIRA volunteers escaped from Mountjoy Prison in Dublin using a hijacked helicopter.
The Sunningdale Agreement was signed.
M62 coach bombing – nine British Army soldiers and three civilians were killed when a PIRA bomb exploded on a bus as it was travelling along the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire, England. It was carrying British Army soldiers and some of their family members.
Dublin and Monaghan bombings – the UVF exploded four bombs (three in Dublin, one in Monaghan) in the Republic of Ireland. They killed thirty-three civilians and wounded a further 300. This was the highest number of casualties in a single incident during "The Troubles". It has been alleged that members of the British security forces were involved. The UVF did not claim responsibility until 15 July 1993.
The Northern Ireland Executive collapsed. As a result, direct rule was re-introduced.
The Provisional IRA bombed the Houses of Parliament in London, injuring 11 people and causing extensive damage.
Guildford pub bombings – four British soldiers and one civilian were killed by PIRA bombs at two pubs in Guildford, England.
Birmingham pub bombings – twenty-one civilians were killed when bombs exploded at two pubs in Birmingham, England. This was the deadliest attack in England during the Troubles. The "Birmingham Six" would be tried for this and convicted. Many years later, after new evidence of police fabrication and suppression of evidence, their convictions would be quashed and they would be released.
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and its political wing the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) was founded at the Spa Hotel in the village of Lucan near Dublin.
The PIRA announced a Christmas ceasefire. Before the ceasefire, they carried out a bomb attack on the home of former Prime Minister Edward Heath. Mr Heath was not in the building at the time and no one was injured.
The PIRA agreed on to a truce and ceasefire with the British government and the Northern Ireland Office. Seven "incident centres" were established in nationalist areas to monitor the ceasefire and the response of the security forces.
A feud began between the Official IRA (OIRA) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). The two groups assassinated a number of each other's volunteers until the feud ended in June 1975.
A feud began between the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA), resulting in a number of assassinations.
Six Catholic civilians were killed in a UVF gun and grenade attack on Strand Bar in Belfast.
The UVF tried to derail a train by planting a bomb on the railway line near Straffan, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland. A civilian tried to stop the UVF volunteers, and was stabbed-to-death. However, his actions delayed the explosion enough to let the train pass safely.
Four British soldiers were killed by a PIRA remote-controlled bomb near Forkill, County Armagh. The attack was the first major breach of the February truce.
Miami Showband massacre – UVF volunteers (some of whom were also UDR soldiers) shot dead three members of an Irish showband at Buskhill, County Down. The gunmen staged a bogus military checkpoint, stopped the showband's minibus and ordered the musicians out. Two gunmen then hid a time bomb in the bus, but it exploded and they were killed. The other gunmen then opened fire on the musicians and fled. Three UDR soldiers were later convicted for their part in the attack, which has been linked to the "Glenanne gang".
Bayardo Bar attack – PIRA volunteers carried out a gun and bomb attack on a pub in Belfast frequented by UVF commanders. Four Protestant civilians and one UVF member were killed.
Five Protestant civilians (all Orangemen) were killed and seven were wounded in a gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall near Newtownhamilton, County Armagh. One of the Orangemen was an off-duty RUC officer, who returned fire. The attack was claimed by the South Armagh Republican Action Force (SARAF), who said it was retaliation for "the assassinations of fellow Catholics in Belfast".
The UVF killed seven civilians in a series of attacks across Northern Ireland. Six were Catholic civilians and one was a Protestant civilian. Four UVF volutneers were also killed when their bomb prematurely exploded as they drove along a road in Farrenlester, near Coleraine.
Drummuckavall Ambush – three British Army soldiers were killed and one captured when the PIRA attacked a watchtower in South Armagh.
A loyalist gang nicknamed the "Shankill Butchers" undertook its first "cut-throat killing". The gang was named for its late-night kidnapping, torture and murder (by throat slashing) of random Catholic civilians in Belfast.
End of internment.
Balcombe Street Siege – for six days, four PIRA volunteers held two hostages at an apartment in London, England.
The Red Hand Commandos exploded a no-warning car bomb in Dundalk, killing two civilians and wounding twenty. Shortly after, the same group launched a gun and bomb attack across the border in Silverbridge. Two Catholic civilians and an English civilian were killed in that attack, while six others were wounded. There is evidence that RUC officers and UDR soldiers were involved in the attacks, which have been linked to the "Glenanne gang".
Reavey and O'Dowd killings – the UVF shot dead six Catholic civilians in two co-ordinated attacks in County Armagh. An officer in the RUC Special Patrol Group took part in the killings, which have been linked to the "Glenanne gang".
Kingsmill massacre – in retaliation, the South Armagh Republican Action Force shot dead ten Protestant civilians after stopping their minibus at Kingsmill, County Armagh.
The PIRA truce of February 1975 was officially brought to an end.
End of Special Category Status for prisoners convicted of terrorist crimes.
Four Catholic civilians (including two children) were killed and twelve wounded when the UVF exploded a car bomb at Hillcrest Bar, Dungannon. The attack has been linked to the "Glenanne gang".
The UVF launched gun and bomb attacks on two pubs in Charlemont, County Armagh, killing four Catholic civilians and wounding many more. A British Army UDR soldier was later convicted for taking part in the attacks. The PIRA killed three RUC officers in County Fermanagh and one RUC officer in County Down.
Nine civilians were killed during separate attacks in and around Belfast. After a suspected republican bombing killed two Protestant civilians in a pub, the UVF killed five civilians in a gun and bomb attack at the Chlorane Bar. The UDA/UFF also assassinated a member of Sinn Féin.
Ramble Inn attack – the UVF killed six civilians (five Protestants, one Catholic) in a gun attack at a pub near Antrim. The pub was targeted because it was owned by Catholics.
Christopher Ewart Biggs (the British Ambassador to Ireland) and his secretary Judith Cook were assassinated by a bomb planted in Mr Biggs' car in Dublin.
Four Protestant civilians were shot dead at a pub off Milltown Road, Belfast. The attack was claimed by the Republican Action Force.
A PIRA volunteer was shot dead by the British Army as he drove along a road in Belfast. His car then went out of control and killed three children. This incident sparked a series of "peace rallies" throughout the month. The group that organised the rallies became known as Peace People, and was led by Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams. Their rallies were the first (since the conflict began) where large numbers of Protestants and Catholics joined forces to campaign for peace.
Blanket protests began in the Maze prison, in protest at the end of special category status. The term ‘blanket protest’ comes from the protesters refusal to wear prison uniforms, instead wrapping blankets around themselves.
Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize.
La Mon restaurant bombing – eleven civilians and an RUC officer were killed and thirty wounded by a PIRA incendiary bomb at the La Mon Restaurant near Belfast.
The PIRA killed an RUC officer and kidnapped another near Crossmaglen, County Armagh. The following day, loyalist paramilitaries kidnapped a Catholic priest and vowed to hold him hostage until the RUC officer was freed. However, they released the priest shortly thereafter. In December 1978 the kidnappers were charged both for the kidnapping and for the murder of a Catholic shopkeeper.
The British Army shot dead three PIRA volunteers and a passing UVF volunteer at a postal depot on Ballysillan Road, Belfast. It is claimed that the PIRA volunteers were about to launch a bomb attack.
The PIRA exploded bombs at the RAF airfield near Eglinton, County Londonderry. The terminal building, two aircraft hangars and four planes were destroyed.
The PIRA exploded over fifty bombs in towns across Northern Ireland, injuring thirty-seven people. Belfast, Derry, Armagh, Castlederg, Cookstown and Enniskillen were hardest hit.
Eleven loyalists known as the "Shankill Butchers" were sentenced to life in prison for nineteen murders. The gang was named for its late-night kidnapping, torture and murder (by throat slashing) of random Catholic civilians in Belfast.
The PIRA assassinated Richard Sykes, the British ambassador to the Netherlands, in Den Haag. The group also exploded twenty-four bombs in various locations across Northern Ireland.
The INLA assassinated Airey Neave, Conservative MP and advisor to Margaret Thatcher. The INLA exploded a booby-trap bomb underneath his car as he left the House of Commons, London. If he had lived, he might have become Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when the Conservatives won the United Kingdom general election two months later.
Four RUC officers were killed by a PIRA van bomb in Bessbrook, County Armagh. The bomb was estimated at 1000 lb, believed to be the largest PIRA bomb used up to that point.
Warrenpoint ambush – eighteen British Army soldiers were killed when the PIRA exploded two roadside bombs as a British convoy passed Narrow Water Castle near Warrenpoint. There was a brief exchange of fire, and the British Army shot dead a civilian. This was the British Army's highest death toll from a single attack during the Troubles. On the same day, four people (including the Queen’s cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten) were killed by a PIRA bomb on board a boat near the coast of County Sligo.
During a visit to the Republic of Ireland, Pope John Paul II appealed for an end to the violence in Northern Ireland.
Four British Army soldiers were killed by a PIRA landmine near Dungannon, County Tyrone. Another British Army soldier was killed by a PIRA landmine near Forkill, County Armagh.
Dunmurry train explosion – a PIRA bomb prematurely detonated on a passenger train near Belfast, killing three and injuring five (including the bombers).
Eight PIRA prisoners escaped from Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast. Using handguns that had been smuggled into the prison, they took prison officers hostage and shot their way out of the building.
Republican prisoners in the Maze began a hunger strike in protest against the end of special category status.
Republican hunger strike called off.
Norman Stronge and his son James Stronge (both former UUP MPs) were assassinated by the IRA at their home Tynan Abbey, which was then burnt down.
Republican prisoners in the Maze began a second hunger strike.
Hunger striker Bobby Sands won a by-election to be elected as a Member of Parliament at Westminster. The law was later changed to prevent prisoners standing in elections.
After 66 days on hunger strike, 26 year old Bobby Sands MP died in the Maze. Nine further hunger strikers died in the following 3 months.
Five British Army soldiers were killed when their Saracen APC was ripped apart by a PIRA roadside bomb near Bessbrook, County Armagh.
Glasdrumman ambush – the PIRA attacked a British Army post in South Armagh, killing one soldier and injuring another.
Northern Ireland’s first religiously integrated secondary school opened.
Republican hunger strike ended.
The PIRA exploded bombs in Belfast, Derry, Armagh, Ballymena, Bessbrook and Magherafelt. Two civilians were killed and twelve were injured.
Hyde Park and Regent's Park bombings – eleven British soldiers and seven military horses died in PIRA bomb attacks during military ceremonies in Regent's Park and Hyde Park, London. Many spectators were badly injured.
Droppin Well bombing – eleven British soldiers and six civilians were killed by an INLA time bomb at the Droppin’ Well Bar in Ballykelly, County Londonderry.
In the first 'supergrass' trial, fourteen UVF volunteers were jailed for a total of two hundred years.
In another 'supergrass' trial, twenty-two PIRA volunteers were jailed for a total of over four thousand years. Eighteen would later have their convictions quashed.
Maze Prison escape – thirty-eight Republican prisoners staged an elaborate escape from the Maze Prison in County Antrim.
Harrods bombing – a PIRA car bomb killed six and injured ninety outside a department store in London. The PIRA Army Council claimed that it had not authorised the attack.
Two PIRA volunteers and a British soldier were killed during a shootout in Dunloy, County Antrim.
Three British soldiers were killed by a PIRA landmine in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Two RUC officers were killed by a PIRA landmine near Camlough, County Armagh.
Brighton hotel bombing – the PIRA carried out a bomb attack on the Grand Hotel, Brighton, which was being used as a base for the Conservative Party Conference. Five people, including MP Sir Anthony Berry, were killed. Margaret and Denis Thatcher narrowly escaped injury.
Ian Thain became the first British soldier to be convicted of murdering a civilian during the Troubles.
Newry mortar attack – a PIRA mortar attack on an RUC base in Newry killed nine officers and wounded thirty-seven. This was the RUC's highest death toll from a single attack during the Troubles.
Four RUC officers were killed by a PIRA remote-controlled bomb near Killeen, County Armagh.
Margaret Thatcher and Garret FitzGerald signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
All fifteen Unionist MPs at Westminster resigned in protest against the Anglo-Irish agreement.
Attack on Ballygawley barracks – the PIRA launched an assault on the RUC barracks in $3, County Tyrone. Two RUC officers were killed and the barracks was completely destroyed by the subsequent bomb explosion.
Northern Ireland Assembly was officially dissolved.
The PIRA issued a warning that anyone working with the security forces in Northern Ireland would be considered "part of the war machine" and would be "treated as collaborators".
During the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (party conference) in Dublin, a majority of delegates voted to end the party's policy of abstentionism – refusing to take seats in Dáil Éireann (Irish parliament). This led to a split and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Dáithí Ó Conaill and approximately 100 people staged a walk-out. The two men would form a new party called Republican Sinn Féin.
Loyalists held a closed meeting at the Ulster Hall in Belfast. The main speakers at the meeting were Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Ivan Foster. During the meeting a new organisation, Ulster Resistance, was formed to "take direct action as and when required" to end the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
Loughgall Ambush – eight PIRA volunteers and one civilian were killed by the Special Air Service (SAS) in Loughall, County Armagh. The eight-strong PIRA unit had just exploded a bomb at the RUC base when it was ambushed by the 24-strong SAS unit.
Remembrance Day bombing – eleven civilians and an RUC officer were killed and sixty-three others were wounded by a PIRA bomb during a Remembrance Day service in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. One of those killed was Marie Wilson. In an emotional BBC interview, her father Gordon Wilson (who was injured in the attack) expressed forgiveness towards his daughter's killer, and asked Loyalists not to seek revenge. He became a leading peace campaigner and was later elected to the Irish Senate. He died in 1995.
SDLP leader John Hume and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams held a meeting. Many consider this meeting as the beginning of the Peace Process.
Milltown Cemetery attack – at the funeral of those killed in Gibraltar, Loyalist Michael Stone (using pistols and grenades) attacked the mourners, killing one PIRA volunteer and two civilians. Over sixty others were wounded. Most of the attack was filmed by television news crews.
Corporals killings – at the funeral of Michael Brady (killed in the Milltown Cemetery attack) two non-uniformed British Army corporals were attacked by civilians and then executed by the PIRA, after being mistaken for Loyalist gunmen.
1988 Lisburn van bombing – six off-duty British Army soldiers were killed by a PIRA bomb attached to their van in Lisburn. The bomb was made in such a way so as to ensure it exploded upwards, lowering the risk of collateral damage.
Ballygawley bus bombing – eight British Army soldiers were killed and twenty-eight wounded when the PIRA attacked their bus with a roadside bomb near Ballygawley, County Tyrone.
The British Government introduced the broadcasting ban on organisations believed to support terrorism – including 11 Loyalist and Republican groups and Gerry Adams' voice.
Prominent Republican solicitor Pat Finucane was assassinated by the "Ulster Freedom Fighters" (UFF), a covername used by the UDA.
Deal barracks bombing – eleven British military bandsmen were killed by a PIRA bomb at Deal Barracks in Kent, England.
Twenty-eight members of the British Army (Ulster Defence Regiment) were arrested on suspicion of leaking security force documents to loyalist paramilitaries.
Attack on Derryard checkpoint – using machine guns, grenades and a flamethrower, the PIRA launched an assault on a British Army checkpoint near Rosslea, County Fermanagh. Two British soldiers were killed and two wounded.
Four British Army (Ulster Defence Regiment) soldiers were killed when the PIRA exploded a landmine under their patrol vehicle in Downpatrick, County Down. The blast was so powerful that the vehicle was hurled into a nearby field.
Operation Conservation – the British Army attempted to ambush a PIRA unit in South Armagh, but were counter-ambushed and one British soldier was killed.
A PIRA landmine attack on an RUC patrol vehicle in Armagh killed three RUC officers and a civilian.
Conservative MP for Eastbourne, Ian Gow, was assassinated by a PIRA bomb planted in his car.
Two Catholic civilians were killed by British Army soldiers in Belfast.
Proxy bomb attacks – the PIRA launched three "proxy bombs" or "human bombs" at British Army checkpoints. Three men (who were or had been working with the British Army) were tied into cars loaded with explosives and ordered to drive to each checkpoint. Each bomb was detonated by remote control. The first exploded at a checkpoint in Coshquin, killing the driver and five soldiers. The second exploded at a checkpoint in Killeen; the driver narrowly escaped but one soldier was killed. The third failed to detonate.
The PIRA launched a "proxy bomb" attack on a British Army (Ulster Defense Regiment) base in Magherafelt, County Londonderry. The bomb caused major damage to the base and nearby houses, but the driver escaped before it exploded.
1991 Cappagh killings – three PIRA volunteers and a Catholic civilian were shot dead by the UVF at Boyle's Bar in Cappagh, County Tyrone. The volunteers arrived in a car as a UVF gang was about to attack the pub. The UVF fired at the car (killing the volunteers) then fired into the pub (killing the civilian). According to nationalist sources, UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade commander Billy Wright was involved.
The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) (acting on behalf of all loyalist paramilitaries) announced a ceasefire lasting until 4 July. This was to coincide with political talks between the four main parties (the Brooke-Mayhew talks).
Glenanne barracks bombing – the PIRA launched a large truck bomb attack on a British Army (Ulster Defence Regiment) base in County Armagh. Three soldiers were killed, whilst ten soldiers and four civilians were wounded. The blast left a deep crater and it could be heard over 30 miles away. Most of the UDR base was destroyed by the blast and the fire that followed. It was one of the largest bombs detonated during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Coagh ambush – the SAS shot dead three PIRA volunteers as they traveled in a car through Coagh, County Tyrone. The car burst into flames. There have been claims that two of the volunteers fled the blazing car, only to be shot and then put back inside by the SAS.
Teebane bombing – a PIRA landmine killed eight Protestant men and wounded six others at Teebane Crossroads near Cookstown, County Tyrone. The men had been working for the British Army at a base in Omagh and were returning home on a minibus. The PIRA said that the men were legitimate targets because they had been "collaborating" with the "forces of occupation". Shortly thereafter, Peter Brooke (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) appeared on the Irish RTÉLate Late Show and was persuaded to sing "Oh My Darling, Clementine". Unionists accused him of gross insensitivity for agreeing to do so.
Allen Moore, an RUC officer, walked into a Belfast Sinn Féin office and shot dead three Catholic civilians. Moore drove away from the scene and later shot himself.
Sean Graham bookmakers' shooting – the UDA, using the covername "Ulster Freedom Fighters" (UFF), claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a bookmaker's shop on Lower Ormeau Road, Belfast. Five Catholic civilians were killed and three wounded. This was claimed to be a retaliation for the Teebane bombing on 17 January 1992. In November 1992, the UDA carried out another attack on a betting shop in Belfast, killing three Catholic civilians and wounding thirteen.
Clonoe ambush – a PIRA unit attacked Coalisland RUC base in County Tyrone using a heavy machine gun mounted on the back of a stolen lorry. Following the attack, the British Army ambushed the unit in a graveyard. Four PIRA volunteers were killed and two were wounded but escaped.
The PIRA exploded a truck bomb at the Baltic Exchange in London. Despite a telephoned warning, three civilians were killed. The bomb caused £800 million worth of damage.
Attack on Cloghoge checkpoint – the PIRA, using a van modified to run on railway tracks, launched an elaborate bomb attack on a British Army checkpoint in South Armagh. The checkpoint was obliterated. One soldier was killed and 23 wounded.
Coalisland riots – after a PIRA bomb attack on a British Army patrol near Cappagh, in which a soldier lost his legs, British soldiers raided two public houses in Coalisland and caused considerable damage. This led to a fist-fight between the soldiers and locals. Shortly thereafter, another group of British soldiers arrived and fired on a crowd of civilians, wounding seven.
The PIRA's "South Armagh snipers" undertook their first successful operation, when a British Army soldier was shot dead on patrol in Crossmaglen, County Armagh.
The PIRA exploded a 2000 lb bomb at the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory in South Belfast. The laboratory was obliterated, seven hundred houses were damaged, and 20 people were injured. The explosion could be heard from over 16 km away. It was one of the largest bombs to be detonated during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Warrington bomb attacks – after a telephoned warning, the PIRA exploded two bombs in Warrington, Cheshire, England. Two children were killed and fifty-six people were wounded. There were widespread protests in Britain and Ireland following the deaths.
Castlerock killings – the UDA, using the covername "Ulster Freedom Fighters" (UFF), claimed responsibility for shooting dead four Catholic civilians and a PIRA volunteer at a building site in Castlerock, County Londonderry. Later in the day it claimed responsibility for shooting dead another Catholic civilian in Belfast.
Bishopsgate bombing – after a telephoned warning, the PIRA exploded a large bomb at Bishopsgate, London. It killed one civilian, wounded thirty others, and caused an estimated £350 million in damage.
Shankill Road bombing – eight civilians, one UDA volunteer and one PIRA volunteer were killed when a PIRA bomb prematurely exploded at a fish shop on Shankill Road, Belfast. The PIRA's intended target was a meeting of loyalist paramilitary leaders, which was scheduled to take place in a room above the shop. However, unbeknownst to the PIRA, the meeting had been re-scheduled.
Greysteel massacre – the UDA, using the covername "Ulster Freedom Fighters" (UFF), claimed responsibility for a gun attack on the Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel, County Londonderry. Eight civilians (six Catholic, two Protestant) were killed and twelve wounded. One gunman yelled "trick or treat!" before he fired into the crowded room; a reference to the Halloween party taking place. The UFF claimed that it had attacked the "nationalist electorate" in revenge for the Shankill Road bombing.
The broadcasting ban on Sinn Féin was lifted in the Republic of Ireland.
The PIRA carried out a mortar attack on Heathrow Airport, London. Further attacks were carried out later in the month, but on each occasion the mortars failed to explode.
Twenty-nine people, including ten senior RUC officers, died during the 1994 Scotland RAF Chinook crash at Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. They were travelling from Belfast to a security conference in Inverness.
The INLA shot dead three UVF volunteers in a gun attack on Shankill Road, Belfast.
Loughinisland massacre – the UVF shot dead six Catholic civilians and wounded five others during a gun attack on a pub in Loughinisland, County Down.
The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) issued a statement which announced a complete cessation of military activities. This ceasefire was broken less than two years later.
The broadcasting ban was lifted in the UK.
The Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) issued a statement which announced a ceasefire on behalf of all loyalist paramilitaries. The statement noted that "The permanence of our cease-fire will be completely dependent upon the continued cessation of all nationalist/republican violence".
A delegation from Sinn Féin met with officials from the Northern Ireland Office.
The British and Irish governments released the Joint Framework document.
Gerry Adams attended a reception held by Bill Clinton at the White House.
Lee Clegg, a British Army paratrooper, was released from prison on the orders of Secretary of State Patrick Mayhew. Clegg had been jailed in 1993, for the murder of Catholic teenager Karen Reilly.
David Trimble was elected as the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, following the resignation of James Molyneaux.
London Docklands bombing – after a telephoned warning, the PIRA bombed the Docklands in London. The bomb killed two civilians, and brought to an end the ceasefire after 17 months and 9 days.
Political talks at Stormont began without Sinn Féin.
Manchester bombing – after a telephoned warning, the PIRA exploded a bomb in Manchester, England. It destroyed a large part of the city centre and injured over 200 people. To date, it is the largest bomb to be detonated on the British mainland since the Second World War.
Drumcree conflict – the RUC decided to block the annual Orange Order march through the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. In response, loyalist protestors attacked the RUC and blocked hundreds of roads across Northern Ireland. Eventually, the RUC allowed the march to continue, leading to serious rioting by nationalists across Northern Ireland.
The PIRA's "South Armagh snipers" shot dead a British soldier manning a checkpoint in Bessbrook, County Armagh. He was the last British soldier to be killed during Operation Banner.
The Grand National horse race was cancelled, and Aintree Racecourse evacuated following a hoax bomb warning from the PIRA. It was one of a number of events that proved how easily the PIRA could disrupt the lives of the British public with minimum effort, and minimum risk to PIRA volunteers. (The race was eventually run the following Monday – 7 April – with no distruption.)
Sinn Féin won its first ever seats in Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament)
The PIRA shot dead two RUC officers on patrol in Lurgan, County Armagh. They were the last RUC officers to be killed before the signing of the Belfast Agreement (see below).
Drumcree conflict – to ensure the Orange Order march could continue, the security forces sealed-off the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. This sparked serious rioting in Portadown and across nationalist areas in Northern Ireland. After four days, the RUC released figures which showed that there had been 60 RUC officers injured; 56 civilians injured; 117 people arrested; 2,500 plastic bullets fired; 815 attacks on the security forces; 1,506 petrol bombs thrown; and 402 hijackings. This was the last time that the Orange Order's parade through nationalist areas around Drumcree was permitted by the authorities.
The PIRA renewed its ceasefire.
Sinn Féin signed the Mitchell Principles.
Multi-party talks resumed.
INLA prisoners shot dead Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) leader and fellow prisoner Billy Wright inside the maximum-security Maze Prison. The LVF launched a number of revenge attacks over the following weeks.
After two years of intensive talks, the Belfast Agreement (also known as the 'Stormont Agreement' or 'Good Friday Agreement') was signed at Stormont in Belfast.
The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) declared an "unequivocal ceasefire". The group hoped this would encourage people to vote against the Belfast Agreement.
Two referendums were held on the Belfast Agreement, one in Northern Ireland and one in the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland the vote was 71.2% in favour, in the Republic of Ireland the vote was 94.39% in favour.
Northern Ireland Assembly elections were held. David Trimble was elected First Minister. Seamus Mallon was elected deputy.
Drumcree conflict – the annual Orange Order march was prevented from marching through the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. Security forces and about 10,000 loyalists began a standoff at Drumcree church. During this time, loyalists launched 550 attacks on the security forces and numerous attacks on Catholic civilians. On 12 July, three children were burnt to death in a loyalist petrol bomb attack. This incident brought an end to the standoff.
Omagh bombing – a dissident republican group calling itself the Real IRA exploded a bomb in Omagh, County Tyrone. It killed twenty-nine civilians, making it the worst single bombing of the Troubles, in terms of civilian life lost.
Considered by many as the end of the troubles. Violence nonetheless continues on a small-scale basis.
Former IRA volunteer and supergrassEamon Collins was found dead near Newry, County Down. The South Armagh IRA were believed to have been responsible.
Solicitor Rosemary Nelson, who had represented the Garvaghy residents in the Drumcree dispute, was assassinated by a booby trapped car bomb in Lurgan, County Armagh. A loyalist group, Red Hand Defenders, claimed responsibility.
The INLA and its political wing the IRSP stated that "There is no political or moral argument to justify a resumption of the campaign".
Direct rule officially ended as power was handed over to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Direct rule was reinstated and the Northern Ireland Assembly suspended by new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson, citing insufficient progress on decommissioning.
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry began in Derry. It is the biggest public inquiry in British history.
Devolution was restored to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Drumcree conflict – the annual Orange Order parade was banned from marching through the nationalist Garvaghy area of Portadown. The security forces erected large barricades to prevent loyalists from entering the area. About 2,000 British soldiers were deployed to keep order. During the standoff at Drumcree Church, loyalists continually launched missiles at the security forces.
The final prisoners were released from the Maze Prison, under the conditions of the Good Friday Agreement.
BBC bombing – a Real IRA bomb exploded outside BBC Television Centre, causing some damage to the building.
Holy Cross dispute – RUC officers had to protect pupils and parents at Holy Cross Catholic Girls' School in Belfast, following attacks from loyalist protesters. The attacks resumed in September, following the school summer holidays, before subsiding in January 2002.
The worst rioting for several years took place in Belfast.
Ealing bombing – a Real IRA car bomb injured seven civilians in Ealing, west London.
The Provisional IRA began decommissioning of its weaponry.
The RUC was replaced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Recruits were recruited on the basis of 50% Catholic, 50% Protestant.
Police were attacked with blast and petrol bombs during rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, following an Orange Order parade. Eighty police officers were injured and several people were arrested.
The PIRA issued a statement declaring it has ended its armed campaign and will verifiably put its weapons beyond use.
International weapons inspectors issue a statement confirming the full decommissioning of the PIRA's weaponry.
Following the rerouting of a controversial Orange Order Parade, rioting broke out in Belfast on a scale not seen for many years,
Michael Stone was arrested for breaking into the Stormont parliament buildings while armed. He would receive 16 years imprisonment for attempting to murder Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams.
Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly took place.
DUP leader, Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams meet face-to-face for the first time, and the two come to an agreement regarding the return of the power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland.
The UVF and RHC issued a statement declaring an end to its armed campaign. The statement noted that they would retain their weapons but put them "beyond reach".
The new Northern Ireland Assembly met and the new Northern Ireland Executive was formed.
The British military's campaign in Northern Ireland (codenamed Operation Banner) officially ends.
The UDA issued a statement declaring an end to its armed campaign. The statement noted that they would retain their weapons but put them "beyond use".
Riots erupted in Craigavon, during which a number of vehicles were hijacked and shots were fired. The Independent Monitoring Commission blamed the CIRA for orchestrating the violence.
Two British Army soldiers were shot dead and two more seriously injured during a gun attack at Massereene Barracks in County Antrim. The Real IRA claimed responsibility. These were the first British military fatalities in Northern Ireland since 1997.
A police officer was shot dead in Craigavon, County Armagh. The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility. This was the first police fatality in Northern Ireland since 1998. Police were petrol bombed when arrests were made. In the following week there was sporadic attacks on police by youths.
The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning stood down.
The RIRA were blamed for detonating a car bomb outside a courthouse in Newry, heavily damaging the guardhut. This was the first successful car bomb attack in Northern Ireland since 2000.
A group calling itself Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for detonating a car bomb outside the MI5 headquarters at Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down.
A car bomb exploded outside a PSNI station in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.
The UVF were blamed for shooting dead former Red Hand Commando member Bobby Moffett in broad daylight on Shankill Road, Belfast. The killing put the UVF's claims of weapons decommissioning and commitment to peace under serious scrutiny.
Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for detonating a 200 lb car bomb outside Strand Road PSNI station in Derry.
The RIRA claimed responsibility for detonating a car bomb near the Ulster Bank on Culmore Road, Derry.
Three PSNI officers were injured after a grenade was thrown at them on Shaw's Road, Belfast. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.
Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old Catholic PSNI officer, was killed after a bomb exploded under his car in Omagh, County Tyrone. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.
Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the Republic of Ireland.
Irish republicans in Maghaberry Prison took part in a dirty protest.
2011 Northern Ireland riots
Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with Sinn Féin MLA and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.
2012 North Belfast riots – there was rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast following the Orange Order's Twelfth marches. Up to 20 PSNI officers were injured and a number of shots were fired by republicans.
The Real IRA announced that it was merging with Republican Action Against Drugs and other independent dissident republican groups.
2012 North Belfast riots – loyalists attacked a republican parade organized by Republican Network for Unity in north Belfast, sparking three nights of rioting between nationalists and loyalists in the area of Carlisle Circus. More than 60 PSNI officers were injured.
A Prison Officer was shot dead on the M1 motorway near Craigavon while driving to work. The shots were fired from another car, which drove alongside. The Real IRA claimed responsibility and said it was a response to the treatment of republican prisoners holding a dirty protest at Maghaberry Prison. He was the first Prison Officer to be killed since 1993.
Belfast City Hall flag protests: Belfast City Council votes to only fly the Union Jack from Belfast City Hall on designated days. Since 1906, it had been flown every day of the year. This sparked protests by loyalists throughout Northern Ireland, some of which became violent. The protests and rioting continued into 2013.
12 July-17 July
Rioting by loyalists occurred across Belfast and across of Northern Ireland after an Orange Order parade was prevented by the PSNI from passing the nationalist Ardoyne shop fronts in North Belfast during The Twelfth celebrations, in accordance with a Parades Commission ruling. During which loyalists attacked with petrol bombs, blast bombs and even reportedly ceremonial swords. There were also at times clashes between loyalist and nationalist crowds. 71 PSNI officers including 3 mutual aid officers from Britain were injured in the days of rioting, and during disorder on 12 July DUP MP Nigel Dodds was injured after he was knocked unconscious by a brick thrown by loyalists. 62 people involved in the rioting were arrested across Northern Ireland
↑ 3.03.1"The troubles were over, but the killing continued. Some of the heirs to Ireland's violent traditions refused to give up their inheritance." Holland, Jack: Hope against History: The Course of Conflict in Northern Ireland. Henry Holt & Company, 1999, page 221. ISBN 0-8050-6087-1