An animated video that explains why the island of Ireland is separated into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has proved a big hit on YouTube.
The video by WonderWhy is around 11 minutes long and does a great job of fitting in a number of vastly complex issues.
There was a huge 800 year chain of events that eventually created the circumstances that lead to Northern Ireland becoming a separate country and a part of the United Kingdom.
Of course regular visitors to this site will have a strong knowledge of why the island is split, but this animation is an excellent beginner’s guide to understanding the reasons.
It starts all the way back in the 12th century, when the Normans invaded England, and then Ireland.
It then moves into the centuries of English, and later British, rule that included invasions, battles, religious differences, rebellions and eventually plantations, most successfully in the North.
Following the Easter Rising and the War of Independence, Britain was no longer able to retain control of Ireland.
After years of uncertainty and conflict it became clear that the Catholic Irish would not accept Home Rule and wanted Ireland to be a Free State.
Meanwhile, the Protestants, who mostly lived in the North, did not want to split from Britain and become part of a Catholic Free State.
In the circumstances, the path of least conflict was for the Republic of Ireland to be formed, without the six counties in the North, which remained a part of the UK and became Northern Ireland.
After decades of conflict over the six counties known as the Troubles, the Good Friday agreement was signed in 1998.
It stated that a united Ireland would only become a reality when it is peacefully and democratically voted for by the citizens of both the North and the Republic.
Take a look at the video below.