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When he was a young man living in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the late 1960s, author and publisher James B. Johnston met his future wife Ann. He was Protestant and by background was culturally British, while she was Catholic and reared in the Irish tradition. By the early 1970s “The Troubles” (a period of civil strife in Northern Ireland between 1968-1998) made living in Belfast difficult, as heightened sectarian conflict between Catholics and Protestants all-too-frequently erupted in acts of violence.

During 1972 and 1973, for example, over 700 people died in Northern Ireland from bombing and shooting incidents related to that conflict. Most of those who died were not personally involved in the fighting; they were simply victims of a conflict with deep historical roots and with no foreseeable resolution.


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This document was published with permission from the publisher. It was originally published in the Rapid River: Arts & Culture Magazine.