Coupures irlandaises

Coupures irlandaises, cover art by Vincent Bailly (2008)

Coupures irlandaises ("Irish cuttings") is a French comics album by writer Kris (Christophe Goret) and artist Vincent Bailly, published by Futuropolis in 2008. It is a heavily fictionalised account of the writer's visit to Belfast as a teenager in 1987.

Two fourteen-year-old Bretons, in a school-sponsored exercise to learn English, spend the summer in Belfast at the height of the "Troubles". Nicolas stays with a working-class Catholic family, the Devlins, in the Markets, while Chris stays with a middle-class Protestant family, the Nicholls, on the Donegall Road. They have unnerving encounters with British soldiers, and meet a group of young Protestant girls in Botanic Gardens, who invite them to a local club - but they are warned not to go by a member of the Devlin family, who has heard there will be trouble there. The next morning the newspaper reports that two soldiers were killed by the IRA outside that club. In response to the shooting, the army raids the Devlin house while both Chris and Nicolas are there, and Chris facetiously gives his name as "Gerard Depardieu". The soldier who takes his name is none the wiser, but his commanding officer knows his French cinema, and, suspicious that a resident has given a false name, orders a second raid, which escalates into a full-scale riot, with petrol bombs thrown, cars burnt out, and shots fired. Back home in France, Chris narrates the story as he collects newspaper cuttings about Northern Ireland.


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