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Derry Girls was a unique portrayal of The Troubles of Ireland

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A tale narrating one of history’s deepest political and religious conflicts, new Netflix release Derry Girls recounts the ‘90s conflict in Ireland through the everyday lives of ordinary citizens.

Derry Girls revolves around five high-schoolers growing up amidst the turbulent times of conflict in Ireland, infamously dubbed “The Troubles.” Erin Quinn (Saoirse Ronan), James Mcguire (Dylan Llewellyn), Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlan), Orla McCool (Louisa Harland), and Michelle Mallon (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) attempt to live uninterrupted by the constant violence and disruption surrounding them.

The unique setting of the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border and distinctive time period of the 1990s intertwine to create a storyline rooted in complexity. Each character living in this difficult time adds a different piece to the puzzle of the community, from Clare’s intelligence to Orla’s quirks. These individualistic characteristics made for some genuinely funny scenes.

Despite the relatively humorous everyday lives of the characters, serious undertones of conflict remained deeply rooted in each episode. It’s here, within the daily tales, that the story lies.

In a specifically memorable moment, the five teenagers find themselves en route to school on their school bus when armed troops stop their vehicle, dismount their frightening Land Rovers, and board the bus full of innocent children for inspection. The juxtaposition of virtuous children staring at virulent weapons on their school bus was chilling.

Scenes like this would be unable to be replicated on any other program; they were eccentric and solely possible because of Derry Girls’ unique circumstance of being set in a deep dispute.

What was once my vague knowledge of a conflict in Ireland evolved into a comprehensive understanding of the many factors behind the clashes. Description of the ethnonationalist disruption was aided by startlingly realistic portrayals of Irish Republican Army (IRA) soldiers and the ever-present wall dividing the two disputatious sides.

Derry Girls actually was aired on BBC Ireland at the beginning of 2018 before becoming available on Netflix a few weeks ago. Its success in Ireland speaks volumes to the impact it had on the Irish people and their history. The fighting. The people. The places. The endless effects. Each of these imperative components is still ingrained in the Irish today; in Derry Girls, their effects visually came to life, and it was interesting and enhancing to see this as a foreigner.

Above all, the cast perfectly matched their respective, distinctive roles. Ronan portrayed Erin with passion, and the actress’s heritage and roots shone through her performance; as a main character, I could not imagine better casting. Additionally, O’Donnell provided much-needed comedic relief through her character of Michelle, my personal favorite.

With only six episodes at twenty minutes each, Derry Girls is perfect for a weekend binge or a short, quick watch. I’m continually impressed with how much depth and information was packed within two hours, while still maintaining a comedic edge. Derry Girls’ passion, scripting, and unique circumstance rendered it the most informative comedy I’ve ever seen.

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About the Writer
Nisha Rajakrishna, Editor in Chief

Nisha Rajakrishna is a senior and entering her last year on staff as an Editor-in-Chief. Nisha loves to travel and experience new cultures, and in her...

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Derry Girls was a unique portrayal of The Troubles of Ireland