Journal of Undergraduate Research


Ireland, Belfast, religious divide, punk music, musical activism


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




Though art can be found in all walks of life, it lends itself particularly well to the expression of political frustration. During the deeply rooted religious conflict between Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland, commonly referred to as the Troubles, many artists and musicians used their creativity to speak out against the violence of the conflict. Born into a society of religious division and hatred, youths of the 1970s and 1980s often turned to the local punk music movement in order to bridge and speak out against the religious divide. Many believe this was critical to eventual peace in Belfast, sometimes (controversially) referred to as Ulster. Though the punk scene of Northern Ireland has long since passed its peak, it continues to be seen as a powerful force. Punk music has provided musicians today “a blueprint” of how to speak out against modern societal issues in Northern Ireland. This report will be an exploration of what musical activism looks like in Belfast, Northern Ireland and why.

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