Belfast’s Peace Walls *Video* & Photo Essay

I was super interested to travel to Belfast. It’s amazing what a different feel the city has, or Northern Ireland for that matter, from the Republic of Ireland. While most tourists are interested in visiting Belfast’s new Titanic Museum, I was much more keen to take a walking tour of the city’s notorious Peace Walls.

Belfast Barriers

Belfast’s Peace Wall, sometimes called Peace Lines, are barriers that divide Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in Northern Ireland. They exist in the towns of Belfast, Derry and Portadown. I made it a priority to visit one of Belfast’s Peace Walls, on Falls Road on the Catholic side, as well as the murals on Shankill Road in the Protestant section, during my one-day trip into the city.

By chance I went to view the murals on July 13, the day after The Twelfth, which is a significant day for the Unionist (Protestant) British supporters. I had heard that there were several marches and some unrest (most notably fires) the night before.

Here’s a quick introduction to the Peace Walls:

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Belfast Peace Walls

Why the Walls?

Peace Walls were erected starting in 1969 during “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. At first the barricades were burned out vehicles, that later became more permanent structures or walls separating the neighbors from one another.

Today there are more than 40 walls. The longest wall is more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) long and 25 feet high. Some of the walls have gates in them, which are closed to protect residents at night. Recently, the International Fund for Ireland has started an initiative to remove the walls if neighbors wish to have more movement between the two sides.

Photo Essay

Many of the walls have been painted with murals depicting political attitudes and memorializing fallen supporters. Below are photos of murals representing both sides of the conflict:

 

 

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This entry was posted on Saturday, August 11th, 2012 and is filed under Social Issues.

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