Young people near a so-called peace wall in north Belfast separating the Protestant Glenbryn area from the Catholic Ardoyne area on the other side. "Taking peace walls away is not going to take bitterness away" said Michael (left), 19. "The walls prevent a clash, the bitterness bounds off on them. They shouldn't come down over the next 100 years, there's still too much pain. Belfast is still totally a divided city."
First built in 1969 as a temporary solution to reduce violence, the peace walls — a euphemism for segregation barriers — have increased in number and scale since the start of the peace process. The barriers take many forms: Not only walls but also fences, gates, roads and empty buffer zones divide the Catholic and Protestant communities in some of the city's most economically deprived areas. The government promised to take the barriers down by 2023, but many residents are not ready for them to come down any time soon. Not all interface areas — the common boundary between a Protestant and a Catholic area — have a physical border. Sometimes there is only an invisible dividing line that local people are aware of.