Culture Re-View: The Good Friday Agreement and 'Derry Girls'; The Beatles break-up and more

The Derry Girls
The Derry Girls Copyright Channel 4
Copyright Channel 4
By Jonny Walfisz
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The Good Friday Agreement and 'Derry Girls'; The Beatles break-up and more. 10 April is a significant date for everyone.


10 April 1998: The Good Friday Agreement ends the Troubles

On this day in 1998, decades of violence came to an end as British and Irish governments came to an agreement over Northern Ireland.

The history of The Troubles, as the violent era is known, stems from Ireland’s hard won independence from the United Kingdom in 1922. The Anglo-Irish Treaty had the counties of Northern Ireland remain as part of the United Kingdom, sparking continued tension between the proponents of the Irish Free State (later the Republic of Ireland) and British nationalists in the region.

Violence escalated in the 60s and remained regular throughout the following decades between republican paramilitary groups like the IRA, loyalist paramilitaries like the UVF and the British Army. Over a period of 40 years, nearly 2,000 civilians were killed in the fighting.

AP/1972 AP
British troops watch as members of the Ulster Defence Association parade through Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Aug. 1972.AP/1972 AP

The Troubles came to an end with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in Belfast. The agreement rested disputes over the governance of Northern Ireland and was the result of two referendums held across Ireland.

While the Good Friday Agreement is an incredibly significant moment in British and Irish history, it’s criminally overlooked culturally. Films like Belfast, Hunger, and In the Name of the Father, all deal with the decades of violence, but few actually feature the end as prominently.

That’s why it was such a beautiful moment when much-loved sitcom Derry Girls dedicated its final episode to the signing of the agreement. Fellow Euronews Culture writer Saskia O’Donoghue is covering the massive impact of the show here and the mural that stands to the memory of the Troubles and the show in Derry today.

Dan Chung/AP1998
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, pose together after they signed the Good Friday AgreementDan Chung/AP1998

10 April 1970: Hello, goodbye, but more goodbye for The Beatles

While today is the anniversary of Ireland and Britain finally coming together, it’s also the day that British band The Beatles made their end official.

1969 had been a tumultuous year for the fab four, with increasing tension between the band members’ ideas for the group’s artistic direction. While their final album ‘Let It Be’ was yet to be released, the last album they had recorded together ‘Abbey Road’ had just finished its final mixing sessions when John Lennon announced to the band he was quitting on 20 September 1969.

Peter Kemp/AP
A small crowd are gathered outside the London office of Apple, the Beatles business organisation in Saville Row on April 10, 1970 after rumours of the split circulate.Peter Kemp/AP

Rumours circled of the band falling apart, and on 10 April 1970, they were confirmed. Difficulties around the release of Paul McCartney’s solo album ‘McCartney’ spurred the bassist into running a press conference where he discussed his “break with The Beatles”. Music historians and Beatles members have argued over whether McCartney intended to use that moment as the official announcement, but that’s the point at which the public knew.

10 April 1925: F. Scott Fitzgerald's greatest release

Over in America, today is also the anniversary of the first publication of ‘The Great Gatsby’. The short novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the story of class and capitalist aspiration through the titular and mysterious character of Jay Gatsby.

From the beautiful prose: “So we beat on, boats against the current”; to the iconic imager; the green light and the celestial eyes; to the endless adaptations and costume parties - Gatsby’s influence knows no bounds.

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