The York student who wrote her dissertation on Derry Girls has been awarded a first

Réiltín’s dissertation has even received praise from Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee


A York student who wrote her dissertation on Derry Girls has achieved a first-class mark.

Réiltín Doherty, an English Literature student from Derry scored 71 per cent on her dissertation titled “Being a Derry Girl, it’s a state of mind: Humour, Teens and the Troubles in Derry Girls”.

Réiltín’s dissertation has received widespread praise, with Lisa McGee, writer of Derry Girls, even tweeting: “This is amazing!!!”

Réiltín was just leaving for work when she received the email with her dissertation results: “I was shaking and really nervous to open it but my housemates convinced me and I opened the email there and then and we celebrated my first quickly before I headed to work.”

She said: “It feels really good, I didn’t really know what to expect but the feedback on my dissertation was really positive and nice to hear the markers enjoyed the parts I worked really hard on.”

The dissertation explores how Derry Girls compares the troubles of being a teenager to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Réiltín said the show accurately captures how people used humour to cope during the Troubles.

The idea of writing her dissertation on Derry Girls started off as a joke. But by the time she got to submitting her proposal she realised it would be something she would really enjoy writing.

Réiltín continued: “When I first moved to England, the first thing people would mention is the Troubles or that they had family from Ireland. Now the first thing they mention is Derry Girls and I love it as it’s something positive from the city to talk about. It has changed people’s perception of Northern Ireland.”

She watched every episode of the show twice and some up to ten times in writing her dissertation. “I did worry I’d end up hating the show, but I still love it.”

“It’s one of the few programmes that show the lives of ordinary people and it also shows how the Troubles, as traumatic as they were, can be funny. I’ve used a lot of theory around dark humour to explain that. I’ve got a whole chapter on how the show sort of educates an audience outside of Northern Ireland about the Troubles, and how it reminds audiences we can never go back, especially in those finales of in Season One and Two.”

With the final season of Derry Girls airing last month, Réiltín said: “It felt really good to be able to shut my laptop and watch the final episode without analysing it. I don’t think I’ll be in a rush to re-watch it anytime soon.”

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