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fellow Irishmen in the southern counties. But they were in the minority, and the Protest-
ant majority was firm in its resolve to remain under the London government.
In the 1960s, increasing tension between the two communities led to an outbreak of vi-
olence, which in turn sparked a series of reprisal bombings, assassinations, and pitched
street battles between Nationalists and Unionists. Thousands were killed in the decades
of violence, and Northern Ireland developed a reputation as a warzone. Tourists stayed
away, concerned that they would fall victim to a car bomb or a gun battle in the streets.
The violence finally began to ebb in 1998, with the signing of the Good Friday Agree-
ment. This complex accord helped to settle many of the issues left unresolved by the
partition of 1920, and met the agreement of militants on both sides of the conflict.
Northern Ireland is still a place of communal tension, as the murals clearly show. But the
agreement demonstrates that both sides are willing to make the sacrifices and conces-
sions necessary to bring an end to the decades of violence that have wracked Northern
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