The dramatic political turbulence in Northern Ireland provides a reflected background to the everyday issues troubling these precocious kids, much as the framework of Derry Girls over the first two seasons.
Season 3 of Derry Girls concludes with a discussion among the characters on how they ultimately voted in the Good Friday Agreement referendum in 1998. Erin and Orla organize a joint 18th birthday party, which is, of course, thwarted by Jenny Joyce, who has planned a much larger and more extravagant party for the same evening.
Simultaneously, Erin is feeling the weight of the impending vote on Derry’s destiny, and the social situation begins to heat up. She discusses the part of the agreement that would free paramilitary inmates early, and we find out how this would affect Michelle’s brother, who is now serving time.
The central plot of Derry Girls centers on a group of pals who struggle to live quietly despite their dangerous surroundings. The difficulties are only a distraction at this point. Despite the hardships they face on a daily basis, they always manage to keep things lighthearted, as would be expected of anyone brought up in such a setting.
However, this final episode is one of the rare instances where the conflict has an actual effect on the characters. In the end, Clare sabotages Jenny’s party and herds all the visitors to Erin and Orla’s birthday, much like the schism that develops between the various groups on Northern Island as a result of the ensuing argument between Erin and Michelle. All is well in the friends’ little area of Derry after they make up.
The last episode has a more serious tone, but the gang isn’t hesitant to inject some much-needed humor, such as when Mary suggests they share the party location with a first communion in order to save money, much to Erin’s dismay.
The opening scene of the series included soldiers, barricades, and tanks moving through Derry to the tune of “Dreams” by The Cranberries. By the conclusion, with the same song playing, but with new significance, the gang is on its way to the polling station to cast a vote in support of the referendum and the promise (or hope) of peace.
Derry Girls Season 3 Ending: What Was the Good Friday Agreement Referendum at The Center of The Final Episode?
There was a truce between the various groups in Northern Ireland (1994), the subject of the second season of the HBO series Derry Girls. This conflict had been going on since the 1960s and had claimed the lives of thousands of people.
In the years that followed, the parties were able to negotiate a peace accord that settled lingering questions about the legal status of former paramilitary members who had been imprisoned, the future of relations with the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and the future of the country’s governing structure.
With a record turnout, the people of Northern Ireland voted yes in a referendum on whether or not to accept the agreement.
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Topics pertaining to this referendum are discussed and argued during the series finale. You can see Grandpa Joe using a corkboard to write out the list of issues with the referendum for his grandchildren to read. Simultaneously, Erin and Michelle are at odds over what to do with the captured paramilitary members.
This final episode must have captured the emotion and tension of the moment while giving a hopeful vision of an uncertain future, despite the fact that the actual peace process was much more complex than this short comedy program could elaborate on. This is the essence of what Derry Girls is about, and Erin explains it in her closing monologue.
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Derry Girls and The Good Friday Agreement
Erin was troubled by the Agreement’s plan to release paramilitary detainees from both sides of the fight, especially given that many of them had killed civilians. Michelle really wanted to visit her brother Niall, who was serving time for his role in an attack on Republicans.
Erin was disturbed by the thought because she was aware that Niall’s actions had resulted in the death of a man.
As a result of their argument, Michelle and her cousin James and Erin and her cousin Orla had to part ways, and Clare, who had recently moved to Strabane, found herself in the awkward position of trying to mediate between her two groups of friends.
When Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah decided to have the girls’ 18th birthday and first communion on the same day to save money, things escalated from bad to worse. Erin was heartbroken since she felt left out of her own big night after having their decorations ripped down and everyone ditching their party to go to Jenny Joyce’s instead.
Because Jenny would never miss an opportunity to steal the spotlight from her girlfriends, she celebrated her own birthday the very same weekend (because of course she would). A miniature horse, Riverdance, and a performance by a member of The Commitments were just some of the highlights of Jenny’s Hollywood-themed party (the one from Derry with the dark hair).
It looked like a hopeless struggle to even try. James and Michelle, who were also involved in the altercation, decided to attend this party instead of Orla and Erin’s.
Erin went to Jenny’s after feeling undermined, where she unexpectedly came into James (and Orla, who had sneaked out of her own party to go to Jenny’s as well). They tracked down Michelle, distraught, in the backyard, and Michelle revealed that while Erin wasn’t wrong, she wasn’t right either and that the Good Friday Agreement doesn’t have any easy solutions.
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She continued by saying that the man Niall killed was the father of a teenage son and that he had a family. Even Michelle’s mother, who had been barred from seeing him since his detention, stopped talking about him.
The group reached a consensus to leave and spend time together.
To save the day, Clare, who had been on her own quest to return to Derry from Strabane, had different intentions. Jenny’s celebration was ruined when Erin and Orla were forced to join forces with Jenny’s event and move it to the church hall. They celebrated together into the night, pumped for the future.