Above the Ground: A True Story of the Troubles in Northern Ireland


Location: 1130 Eck Hall of Law

Lawton Book Cover

In 1978, the bloody conflict in Northern Ireland known as The Troubles reached a boiling point.

Hundreds of members of the Irish Republican Army were arrested and incarcerated in a notorious British prison known as the Maze. Then, on Sunday, November 26, 1978, two IRA gunmen kicked in the front door at 8 Evelyn Gardens in Belfast—the home of Maze prison official Albert Miles. They then executed Miles in front of his horrified family and vanished into the night.

In 1983, twenty-four-year-old Catholic taxicab driver Kevin Barry Artt was convicted and sentenced to life for Miles' murder, falsely named by an IRA member-turned-jailhouse-informant desperate to please his captors. On his way to the Maze, in manacles, Artt still professed his innocence.

Six weeks later he made a daring and dramatic escape, fleeing to California and going underground. For decades, the British government, aided by the US Department of State and FBI, relentlessly sought him while he managed to stay just steps ahead of his pursuers. Not until 2020, when the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal threw out Kevin’s murder conviction based on new, exculpatory evidence discovered by Lawton, was Artt set free.

Lunch will be provided.

Undergraduates welcome and encouraged to attend!



DAN LAWTON is a writer and lawyer. His short fiction and columns have appeared in The Recorder, Los Angeles Daily Journal, The Pensive Quill, The Daily Transcript, and Sheepshead Review. Above the Ground: A True Story of The Troubles in Northern Ireland  is his first work of narrative nonfiction.


Originally published at klau.nd.edu.