In 2002, I visited Cluan Place in East Belfast for the first time. I was visiting a couple of homes in the street, – people who were parishioners of a church that I belonged to at the time. The reason for my visit was to see if their homes had been damaged in the rioting that was taking place at that time. Cluan Place lies right on one of the Belfast interface lines, ‘peace-walls’ seperating two communities. In the case of Cluan Place, it interfaced with the largely republican Short Strand area. In 2002 friction between the two communities was at a height, and there was a constant police presence to keep the warring factions apart. One of my friends in the street was an ederly man who had found a pipe bomb in his garden; it had been lobbed over the wall from the other side.
In August this year I had occasion to visit the street again. It’s fifteen years from my first visit, and I havent been there since, and I wondered how the community and the atmosphere had changed. was there still that fearfullness, that alertness of suuden attack? was there a constant police landrover sitting at the single entrance to the cul de sac?
Needless to say, I had a film camera with me. I never go anywhere without one, so after my visit with one of the residents I did some photographs. I hope they paint a small picture of life in Cluan Place 15 years on.
The other side of the wall is Short Strand, equally smitten in 2002, – here’s some pictures of the wall from the Short Strand side, and a lovely new building, on the site where the old ‘Picturedrome’ cinema once stood.
If I had to choose my ‘image of the day’ – it would probably be this one, for after all, like life the summer barbecues go on!