Lecture by Susan McKay on “From Triumphalism to Desperation — the Fall of Ulster Unionism”

Journalist Susan McKay discusses her new book, “Northern Protestants – On Shifting Ground.” Free and open to the public. This in-person lecture requires free tickets in advance.

susan mckay with brown wavy short hair wearing navy blue polka dot cardigan
Photo by Derek Speirs

Journalist Susan McKay discusses her new book, Northern Protestants – On Shifting Ground (Blackstaff Press 2021), which is a collection of almost 100 interviews with politicians, community workers, religious leaders, former paramilitary members, young people, business people, and other citizens of Northern Ireland from County Antrim to the city of Londonderry, McKay’s hometown. In this follow-up to her book Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People, first published 21 years ago, McKay shares that in 2021 unionists in Ireland attempted to celebrate the centenary of Northern Ireland and then in 2022 they collapsed its government. Political unionism is hardening into a nostalgia for the sectarian state that the Good Friday Agreement dismantled, but McKay’s book explores the surprising diversity of thought among people from a Protestant background who are impatient with narrowness, open to new ideas, and welcoming of the potential for political change. Northern Protestants — On Shifting Ground was described by the Observer as “a fascinating and constantly thought-provoking book” and The Irish Times said it was “vital reading in all senses of the word.”

McKay’s journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, London Review of Books, the Guardian/Observer and The Irish Times. McKay is currently writer-in-residence with Sligo Libraries, working on a project about the legacies of the partition of Ireland in the North West. She is also writing a book about borders for which she received an Arts Council of Northern Ireland major individual award.

Tickets & Details

This event will take place in-person (please note the change from past virtual lectures) and is free and open to the public. Advance tickets required; reserve tickets through University Ticketing.

The event will not also be streamed or recorded via Zoom.

Get directions to the James Stewart Film Theater and find other venue information for 185 Nassau Street.

COVID-19 Guidance + Updates

Per Princeton University policy, all guests are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to the maximum extent, which now includes a COVID booster shot for all eligible to receive it, and to wear a mask when indoors. Please note that speakers may be unmasked while presenting.


symbol for wheelchair accessibilityThe event space is wheelchair accessible. Visit our Venues and Studios section for accessibility information at our various locations. Guests in need of access accommodations are asked to contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email LewisCenter@princeton.edu at least one week in advance of the event date.