Protestant Boy

2004 Granta: London

'A memoir of a Protestant Northern Irish upbringing during the worst years of the Troubles. 

Geoffrey Beattie grew up in the notorious 'murder triangle' in North Belfast, where during thirty years of the Troubles more than six hundred people were killed.  Many of my childhood friends ended up dead or in prison while I moved to England, at first to study and eventually to build my career as a psychologist.

On a visit home to see his ailing mother, Beattie begins to explore his Ulster Protestant ancestry and to reflect on the unfashionable and little understood Protestant community.

His search takes him to the trenches of the Somme, to the Plantation villages of Ulster; and to Drumcree for the Orange march. And it brings him a deeper understanding of his own family, especially his mother: at the heart of this book is an extraordinarily vivid portrait of this opinionated, witty, exasperating Ulsterwoman.

Protestant Boy is an honest, beautifully written book about the stories that families and cultures tell themselves and about the silences that they leave behind.' (from the cover)

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Reviews

'An eloquently-written, finely-observed, unflinchingly honest account.’
Belfast Telegraph

‘In this honest, insightful memoir Geoffrey Beattie revisits the North Belfast area in which he grew up, the notorious “murder triangle” where more than 600 people were killed during the Troubles.  Beattie’s enlightening memoir becomes our own window into the hearts and minds of a community drenched in blood.’
Newsweek

 ‘An absorbing meditation on the author’s Belfast upbringing … written in sentences as clean and unadorned as a Presbyterian’s complexion.’
Irish Times

 ‘An honest, moving and illuminating emotional journey into the heart and psyche of the Protestants of Ulster.’
Ruth Dudley Edwards

'In this book Geoffrey Beattie goes to the heart of his personal experience and  recreates the world of his childhood – both as it was and as it is now – in a manner that will give any Ulster-born reader a series of small, agonizing shocks of recognition.’
Times Literary Supplement