Revisiting Belfast

40 minutes

Over the past week, violence has once again broken out in Northern Ireland. During one skirmish in Belfast last Wednesday, rioters threw Molotov cocktails, several police officers were injured, and a double decker bus was hijacked and burnt to the ground. It was the latest flare-up in long-simmering tensions between Catholic nationalists — who are calling for a united Ireland — and Protestant loyalists and unionists, who remain dedicated to the British Crown.

To get some context on the latest developments, I’m joined this episode by my colleague Don Duncan, who’s a journalist and a lecturer at Queen’s University in Belfast. Then we listen back to a documentary I produced several years ago for the podcast 99% Invisible about the dozens of fences and walls that still separate many Catholic nationalist and Protestant loyalist communities in Northern Ireland, even though it’s been more than two decades since a peace agreement was signed that officially ended the era of armed conflict.

Visit my website to see photos and an interactive map of the peace walls in Northern Ireland. And visit 99% Invisible’s website for more background information about this story and to hear an extended conversation between me and host Roman Mars (starting around 28:30 into episode 367) about the connection between the peace walls and Brexit, the ongoing divisions between Catholics and Protestants, and a very funny television show that’s helping to bring them together.


On Far From Home, award-winning public radio journalist Scott Gurian documents fascinating stories from far-flung places like Iran, Chernobyl, and Mongolia. For more info, visit

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