Northern Ireland

November 1, 2015

“No surrender"-songs wafting out of narrow open doorways. Heavily tattooed men sitting in front of a local pub singing and shouting along to it. Children running back and forth collecting wood for a giant bonfire right in front of the huge wall that divides them from their Catholic neighbours. That night a great part of the Northern Irish Protestant community across the country will cheerfully watch hundreds of bonfires burn. It’s the 11th of July in Northern Ireland,  a "constituent unit" of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the northeast of the island of Ireland. Preparations are almost finished for the most important day in the Ulster Protestant calendar, the commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne, celebrating British victory over Irish Catholicism. The next day many of those standing besides the burning bonfire will support their local Lodges parading through the streets. To many people it is not surprising that in some of these streets the Orangemen are frequently met with protest and physical violence. Rerouting the parades seems not to be an option. A slogan on the wall says it all: “What We Have, We Hold.

Abandoned houses in the loyalist Tigers Bay area of North Belfast. Young loyalist in front of Lanark Way bonfire in the Shankill area of Belfast. Peaceline from the protestant side of the Whiterock interface in West Belfast. Football pitch at peaceline operating loyalist lower Shankill from nationalist Falls Road. Bonfire decorated with Union Jack, Northern Ireland and Israel flag in Newtownards. The small loyalist Cluan place nest to nationalist enclave on the 12th of July in East Belfast. Loyalist bonfire in the village area of South Belfast. Loyalist hood on top of a bonfire on the 11th night in East Belfast. "You are now entering loyalist Sandy Row" - UVF paramilitary mural on the 11th night in Belfast.Bandsman playing the flute at the bonfire on the 11th night in Sandy Row/Belfast. Young loyalist bandsman preparing to march at Clifton Street Orange Hall in North Belfast. Young loyalist bandsman preparing to march at Clifton Street Orange Hall in North Belfast. Loyalist bandsman of the Pride of Ardoyne triumphantly marching past Ardoyne shops on the 12th of July. "Prepared for peace - ready for war" - Loyalist UDA mural in the Mount Vernon area of Belfast. Members of protestant Royal BIack Institution waiting to parade in Belfast. Orangeman being barked at by a rather different protester. Young protestant supporters during a pre-parade church service on Denmark Street/Shankill area in Belfast. A loyalist Band marching at a protestant Royal Black Institution parade. Loyalist paramilitary group Ulster Defence Association mural in East Belfast.