The first time I came to the cities of Belfast and Derry to learn more about The Troubles and to see the sectarian areas and the peace wall in Belfast and the Bogside area in Derry, I was moved and troubled and passionately compelled to learn more. It’s not an easy thing to wrap your head or your heart around – students are grappling with the key issues, events and people. Here are a few photos I took yesterday, and am looking forward to being with students on the Black Taxi Cab Tours with Paddy Campbell, tomorrow.
From the Wikipedia entry –
The peace lines or peace walls are a series of border barriers in Northern Ireland that separate Irish nationalist and unionist neighbourhoods. They have been built at urban interface areas in Belfast, Derry, Portadown and elsewhere. The stated purpose of the peace lines is to minimise inter-communal violence between Catholics (most of whom are nationalists who self-identify as Irish) and Protestants (most of whom are unionists who self-identify as British).
The peace lines range in length from a few hundred yards to over three miles (5 km). They may be made of iron, brick, and/or steel and are up to 25 feet (7.6 m) high. Some have gates in them (sometimes staffed by police) that allow passage during daylight but are closed at night.