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Centre for Irish Studies Seminar Series: “Did Punk Save Belfast?”

December 8 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


December 8
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Seminar Room, Centre for Irish Studies, University of Galway


Dr Nessa Cronin

Irish Studies Seminar Series – Semester 1 2022-23

 “Did Punk Save Belfast?”

 Professor Kevin Dunn, Dept. of International Relations, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, US


Seminar Abstract:

There is a saying, often attributed to Terri Hooley of Good Vibrations record store and label, that punk flourished in Northern Ireland in the 1970s because “we needed it more.” The general claim is that the punk scene that emerged in Northern Ireland, particularly around Belfast, was instrumental for offering youths of that time a way not to just escape from stultifying sectarianism of The Troubles, but also a means by which to push back and exert their own agency.

This talk explores the validity of those claims, while offering a more nuanced and complicated narrative of the Belfast punk scenes. In particular, this talk will move beyond a myopic focus on the 1970s scene employed by most narratives to explore the less well-known but more politically significant Belfast punk scenes of the 1980s and 1990s.