Travels through Northern Ireland

The Peace Wall

The Peace Wall, Peace Line, or whatever name you chose to call it by is a complicated thing. It is a wall, or sometimes a line on the ground, that designates the boundaries of Protestant and Catholic areas. Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, more walls have been put up. Some speculation is that with more mixing between two previously segregated societies, anxiety has risen which in turn has been soothed by the presence of these walls.

Over 4 million people visit the Peace Wall each year, and there is a tradition of signing the wall. Generally speaking the people signing the wall are not necessarily from the area – but rather tourist expressing their hope for a peaceful future.

The most shocking part about the presence of this wall is that the gates are still closed every night to physically separate the two groups of peoples, and do not open again until morning – even ambulances have to use longer, alternative routes to enter neighborhoods.

A psychical wall. There are no words to describe how sad it is to see, it even runs through the middle of parks.

For me it brings about a feeling of great pessimism that the communities will eventually come together. With all the wonderful work being done by community groups and government bodies, the presence of this wall says much of what is generally left unsaid by official representatives of the communities. The trust is not there. Hopefully one day it will be.

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