Renowned Irish historian discusses Partition – how and why Ireland was divided

On 3rd December, Luton Irish Forum welcomed renowned historian Dr Ivan Gibbons, sharing his knowledge and research, in a talk accompanying the release of his book: Partition How and Why Ireland was Divided (Haus Publishing). To mark the centenary, Ivan explained why Ireland was partitioned and how the two states on the island were created.

As an online event, LIF had expected a good turnout but were delighted when all 100 tickets were allocated, and over Zoom there was an array of couples and families, tuning in from as far away as the US and Brazil. “I’m glad it was online as otherwise I would have missed it, as I live in Edinburgh,” wrote one viewer. Of course, many LIF members were present as the annual Cultural Seminar has become a key event.

Dr Gibbons spoke with authority, passion and humour on this most emotive of subjects and then went on to field an hour’s Q&A from an enthusiastic and engaged audience, on subjects ranging from reunification to Brexit. LIF was pleased to receive positive feedback: “A brilliant evening...I feel I’ve learnt so much. Ivan is such a good communicator,” and there was praise too for “the good atmosphere created by the organisers and participants.”

Tom Scanlon LIF Chair said, “it was right to take these issues and discuss them,” and he looked forward to a “brighter and better time next year” where he hoped to meet at the Forum building “so as we can have another exchange of views, on I am sure, a different topic.”

You may view a recording of the lecture and the Q&A:

Part 1:                                                          

Part 2:

LIF’s next venture is St Brigid’s Day on 30 January 2021, celebrating Irish Women in Comedy. Already the team are planning an online event, which may feature a very well-known Irish female comedy duo. Afternoon tea will be delivered locally. One attendee of the lecture who had never engaged with LIF before, felt so at home that she bought her St Brigid’s Day ticket and enquired about Irish language on the night.

For further information on the services of Luton Irish Forum, go to

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Editors Notes:

Ivan Gibbons is a lecturer in Modern Irish and British history specialising in the relationship between the British Labour Party and Ireland. He was lecturer and MA and BA programme Director in Irish Studies at St Mary’s University. Among his publications are The British Labour Party and the Establishment of the Irish Free State (2015) and Drawing the Line: The Irish Border in British Politics (2018).


Dr Ivan Gibbons 


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