was I there? I'm not really sure
can't really say why I had a fascination with Belfast and The Troubles.
studied the history, I'd seen TV programmes but probably the most
compelling reason was that Belfast was a British city with more
than 15,000 troops patrolling its streets.
was life like for people living there?
you will see from my pictures Belfast in 1988 had two sides.
was a city that people lived in and went about life in a reasonably
normal fashion. The
other side was being security conscious, keeping an eye out for
bags left unattended, and getting the best buys from Massive Bomb
from the peaceful streets of Melbourne, Belfast was one hell of
parts of the city laid waste by sectarian divide was sad. The messages
on gravestones sadder still.
it all the people in Belfast did what they could to get on with
life and, no matter which side of the political chasm they were
on, they still wanted the best for their families.
These photos were taken in 1988 at a time when tensions between Catholics
and Protestants were very high.
IRA volunteers - Danny McCann, Sean Savage and Mairéad Farrell -
had been killed in Gibraltar while on a bombing mission there.
arrived in Belfast the day before their funeral at Milltown Cemetery
and I went along expecting street violence.
was no way I, nor anyone else, could have anticipated the attack
on mourners at the funeral by Michael Stone, a Protestant extremist.
set in train a series of events that included more murders and the
disgusting and very public deaths of two British soldiers - Corporals
David Robert Howes and Derek Tony Wood - who got too close to another
IRA funeral and were viciously beaten, stripped then shot.
need to read my reactions to that on this
met many wonderful people in Belfast - from both sides - and went
out on patrol with the police of the Royal Ulster Constabulary who
were caught in the middle.
am glad to say that Northern ireland has settled down in the two
decades since I was there.
recent visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the province and her shaking
hands with ex IRA boss Martin McGuinness speaks volumes for the
may it continue.