Huge tour buses pull up one after the other at a section of the wall which the former US president Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama both signed. One 30-something couple emerging from a bar wants them taken down. However, due to their effectiveness, they never came down. They didn’t know the trick of looking at the eyes and eyebrows. “There is no political need to build consensus,” says Norman Hamilton, a Presbyterian minister and member of the Community Relations Council. Fascinating place to see. “The question is, how do we create the conditions in which Protestants don’t see the removal of the wall as a threat to their existence as a community?”. These were just locally constructed barricades that communities built themselves. There are a handful of people prepared to speak out in favour of the walls coming down. A 2012 study found almost 100 walls, fences, gates and roads forming “interfaces” between communities across the city. Many residents view the peace walls as a necessary form of protection. The 1998 Good Friday agreement signalled an end to the sectarian violence that had dogged Northern Ireland since the 1960s, but the so-called 'peace walls' remain. “People have been saying to us, ‘You must feel safer now there is a fence,’” says Persic. In 2011, a “peace gate” was installed in the 3.5-meter-high corrugated iron fence that cuts through the tidy Victorian grounds of Alexandra Park. For four decades, an imposing, 800-metre-long, multilevel barrier has divided the loyalist Shankill and republican Falls Road. “But I felt like, why are we putting up a gate at an interface?”, Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion. n 1971, a secret report by the Northern Irish government criticised the speed with which walls, gates and fences were being constructed in. Location: Cluan Place/Clandeboye Gardens. Why does Belfast still cleave to its walls? Back on the Protestant side, councillor Brian Kingston concedes that the 10-year plan is "probably not" realistic. The result is that, although the violence has largely abated, issues about the past – and the future – continue to dog Northern Irish politics. Belfast, divided in the name of peace A 'peace gate' has been opened in the barrier that divides Belfast's Alexandra Park, allowing Catholics and Protestants to mix – during the day at least… The walls, established as a temporary measure, were a very simple solution to the problem of keeping Republicans and Loyalists apart. Permanent walls were built to separate Catholic and Protestant districts of Belfast in the 1970s, and the city is still scarred by almost 100 of them. This wall that separates protestant and catholic neighborhoods in Belfast is a must-see. They couldn’t tell who was who. The peace lines or peace walls are a series of separation barriers in Northern Ireland that separate predominantly republican and nationalist Catholic neighbourhoods from predominantly loyalist and unionist Protestant neighbourhoods. “The British Army started putting barbed wire to separate communities, then it was corrugated iron to separate communities, then brick walls that were added to and added to, even after the Good Friday Agreement,” says Ian McLaughlin of the Lower Shankill Community Association. Then, when the British Army came over to keep the peace, they had a big problem. "Keep them up," he shouts over his shoulder and walks on. "If you take the walls down, eventually someone's going to end up shooting at each other. The West Falls Road peace wall between the Catholic Lower Falls and Protestant Shankill areas in Belfast. “Catholics see peace walls as a problem to their community developing. In Belfast we have something called recreational rioting," he said.Â. Northern Ireland's government has put forward a proposal for the dozens of existing walls or interfaces to be removed within the next 10 years, but the plan is unpopular with those who live in their shadow. series of barriers that were erected to separate Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland However, some members of a cross-community youth programme in Belfast have called for … NBIN has been working for the better part of a decade out of a low-ceilinged office in a red-brick terrace near Cliftonville FC’s ground, Solitude. Peas Park, however, has not escaped Belfast territoriality. Tourists flock to see the wall and the murals. Until a few years ago, this was impossible: a steel gate, erected in the late 1980s following a spate of sectarian murders, barred the entrance to the nondescript row of terrace houses. The longest of these barriers, separating the Shankill and Falls roads in Belfast, is more than 10 metres high in parts; an imposing structure of concrete and steel fencing. It can be seen for miles. Year built: 1970s . Teenager Kate Savage let down by under-resourced mental health system, WA's chief psychiatrist finds. A Belfast peace wall is exhibiting photos of the world’s border walls ahead of Brexit. In 1961, more than 70,000 people lived in the area; now it’s fewer than 25,000. In the shadow of an Ulster Volunteer Force, lettuce and spinach sprout in Peas Park, a community garden created by local residents. A little further down the street is another mural, this time in darker colours: two men bow their heads in honour of slain loyalist paramilitaries. More than 20 years after the Good Friday peace agreement was signed, the so-called peace walls remain in Northern Ireland. The group has studied peace walls, created an interactive map of them, and worked tirelessly to improve communication and prevent conflict across the “interface”, the city jargon for where Catholic and Protestant communities abut. At the same time as barriers were going up between Catholics and Protestants, the decrepit terrace houses of the Shankill were being torn down. Type: 2.5 metre brick wall with additional 3 metre open mesh fencing . Now the gate is open for most of the daytime: the hours have recently been extended. Many say this is for good reason. The first Peace Wall was built in 1969 when a violent series on Loyalist-Nationalist riots rocked the city. "If the politicians are going to say it's a good idea, I don't know what they're thinking about, because there's too much bitterness between the two communities," one woman living on the Shankill side of the divide said. This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced. These brick and wire boundaries were strung across roads, parks and even backyards … They are located throughout Belfast, Derry, Portadown and elsewhere. "But the same operates when we leave the Protestant Shankill area to go onto the Catholic Falls Road. But they can’t even put in light bulbs here,” says Rab McCallum, a republican ex-prisoner who works for the North Belfast Interface Network (NBIN). “One voice can veto change for the many,” says NBIN’s Brendan Clarke. The result is that demand for housing is, in general, far higher in Catholic areas than Protestant. Men bow their heads in honour of slain loyalist paramilitaries on a mural lining the peace wall on Shankill Road in West Belfast. At nightfall and weekends massive steel gates at crossing points are locked and often the stone-throwing begins, each side blaming the other for rocks found lying close to the wall most days. Type: 2.5 metre brick wall with additional 4.5 metre open mesh fencing . The visitors take photos, sign the wall themselves and move on. Earlier this summer, a fence was erected around the garden. About a mile away, in West Belfast, on the opposite side of the peace line, shoppers on the Shankill Road pass storefronts selling mugs emblazoned with the Queen’s face. The 1998 Good Friday agreement signalled an end to the sectarian violence that had dogged Northern Ireland since the 1960s, but the so-called 'peace walls' remain. Around the Shankill and Falls Road area, huge murals painted on the sides of buildings close to the walls honour some of those killed in three decades of violent conflict between Catholics and Protestants. Construction began the following day. In recent years, Belfast City Hall has undergone two major developments. The war's over," they said. It divides the east Belfast loyalist area of Shankill Road from the Catholic Springfield/Falls Roads area of west Belfast. Falls Road (from Irish túath na bhFál 'territory of the enclosures') is the main road through west Belfast, Northern Ireland, running from Divis Street in Belfast city centre to Andersonstown in the suburbs. A five-metre high wall and fence runs from the junction of Springfield Road and Springmartin Road to near Upper Ballygomartin Road, west Belfast. 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 … A single resident’s opposition can be enough to maintain the status quo. “People say that when the walls come down, the investment will flow in. The Berlin Wall, he says, "was built to keep the people in, but this wall was built because both sides wanted it.". The first of the peace walls were built in 1969 after a series of sectarian riots rocked Belfast. he asked. But they continue to have an important role in keeping things that way, maintaining the uneasy equilibrium that Belfast now finds itself in. "For the next 35 minutes or whatever it is, you are not going to see a Catholic in this area," explains Paddy Campbell as he begins his taxi tour of Belfast's trouble spots. The first barriers were built in 1969, fol The peace walls were constructed, sometimes overnight, under anti-terrorism legislation. The first peace walls, or “peace lines,” were built by residents during intense rioting in 1969 at the outset of the Troubles. The name "Peace Wall" conjures up a structure that was build to commemorate the signing of a peace treaty. Defensive architecture, it turns out, is far easier to erect than tear down. By “firm peace line” he meant that the army would dismantle the barriers the residents had built and replaced them with a more official-looking, five-foot-tall barbed wire fence. A decade and a half after the Good Friday peace agreement that future is still a long way off. Tensions between the parties threatened to bring down Stormont this summer, including the involvement of IRA members in the August murder of onetime republican gunman Kevin McGuigan. Peace Wall Belfast The Peace Walls are a series of barriers that were erected across the course of “The Troubles” to separate Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods, which are still visible throughout Northern Ireland today. The so-called “peace lines”, it said, were creating an “atmosphere of abnormality” in the city. The design includes an underground brick wall nine feet deep to separate Catholic and Protestant burial plots. They haven’t sold the benefits and opportunities” of taking down the peace walls, says McCallum. More than 15 years on from what was known as the Troubles, walls, gates and fences still separate some Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland. "It starts off with the very young children, they come out and they start throwing stones at each other. As I was sitting in the NBIN office, an email pinged into Clarke’s inbox. Similar movements took place across working-class Belfast. He too thinks the politicians are out of touch. A large locked metal gate forms part of the ‘peace wall’ that divides Catholic and Protestant communities in west Belfast. The peace lines or peace walls are a series of border barriers in Northern Ireland that separate Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. 1866 – Belfast opens a new City Cemetery . In 1971, a secret report by the Northern Irish government criticised the speed with which walls, gates and fences were being constructed in Belfast to separate Catholics and Protestants. Actually, when the wall went up, it was only meant to be temporary, but here we are in 2020 and it’s still here. "Then it sort of graduates up the age groups, until finally the adults are out, and they're at it too.". It can seem baffling to outsiders. McLaughlin, too, would like to see all the peace walls removed. “But reaching that point is a huge journey,” he says, particularly for Protestants who fear that their areas could go from orange to green almost overnight if the barriers were gone. On the other side of the divide many Catholics think the wall should stay. Some of the dead were paramilitaries, some were ordinary people targeted simply for their religious affiliations or victims of random terrorist attacks. Brian Kingston, a local councillor with the Democratic Unionist Party, admits the term 'peace wall' can be confusing for outsiders. W all On Wall includes images of structures in places such as Korea, Palestine and the US.. It is a view echoed throughout the Shankill area, a part of town adorned with Union flags and where few, if any, Catholics live. "Catholics don't live here, they wouldn't be welcome here, they wouldn't want to live here. Credit: Steven Grattan/The World We have normalised Belfast without taking down the walls.”. "If Martin McGuiness [Northern Ireland's deputy first minister] and Peter Robinson [first minister] are saying things like that, why are they not going to live on the front line?" There have been some successes. "They're called peace walls I suppose because they're there to keep the peace between communities where there have been attacks, attacks on houses," he said. You will not see any Protestants over there, for the same reasons.". The name has been synonymous for at least a century and a half with the Catholic community in the city. “There is no momentum, there is no resources and the government haven’t provided a vision of a united community. A new housing development in the Shankill area is going up, after an agreement was reached with the local community. A employee closes the ‘peace gate’ in Alexandra Park at 3pm. A section of the peace wall that divides Catholic and Protestant communities in Belfast wraps around houses in Cluan Place, east Belfast October 27, 2012. But the Stormont report writers did “not expect any insurmountable difficulty” in bringing down the barricades once the violence had subsumed. Read more. Most people live on streets that are 90% Catholic or Protestant. The biggest peace wall in Belfast runs along Cupar Way. North Belfast witnessed some of the worst violence: a fifth of the more than 3,000 people killed during the Troubles died among these streets, where kerbstones alternate between nationalist green and unionist red, white and blue. The garden is particularly popular with young people. 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