'The Other Side', 'Act of Union' and 'The Ministry of Fear'. The schizophrenia of the two Irelands and the question of cultural identity.

Essay by lamochkaUniversity, Master'sA, September 2003

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Seamus Heaney:

"The Other Side", "Act of Union"

and "The Ministry of Fear"

The schizophrenia of the two Irelands

and the question of cultural identity


1. Introduction 3

1.1 Seamus Heaney 3

1.2 Heaney's Ireland: The Political Background 3

1.3 Heaney's poetry 3

2. The Other Side 5

2.1 Structure 5

2.2 Sources of Identity and Difference between the Neighbours 5

2.2.1 Religion 5

2.2.2 Land 6

2.2.3 Mutual dependence of both sides 7

2.3 The message of The Other Side 8

3. Act of Union 9

3.1 Structure 9

3.2 Cathleen ni Houlihan, the conqeror and their offspring 9

3.3 Ulster - A Chimera. 11

4. The Ministry of Fear 12

4.1 Structure 12

4.2 "Hobnailed boots from beyond the mountains" 13

4.3 'Inferiority' or 'Northern Irish Identity'? 15

5. Conclusion 16

6. List of Works Cited 17

6.1 Text 17

6.2 References 17



Heaney, by his own definition, was always a 'bookish creature' . Born near Castledawson, in County Derry, as the eldest son of eight children born in a Catholic Nationalist family, he made the usual transition to the Catholic education system. At an early age, he began to discard the history of farming with which his family had been associated for generations, to become Ireland's greatest living poet. He started school at St Columb's college in Derry as a boarder and then moved on to Queen's University Belfast. In 1966, by the age of 27, had his first collection of poems published by Faber and Faber. By the present day, he has published 10 volumes of poetry, several collections of critical essays and was awarded numerous prizes, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.


Heaney grew into a country...