Northern Ireland has changed greatly over the last two decades and now is a wonderful, safe place to visit. The troubles are long gone and both Derry and Belfast are well established as tourist destinations, ideal for a weekend city break.

Both these cities have strong communities which are still divided to this day and the centuries old differences are often not far from the surface of everyday life. Derry (Londonderry) has strong Republican areas. In recent times, the younger generation have rekindled the flames of the past with the killing of a journalist in 2019. Overall the shooting seems to have been condemned by the wider population of Derry who see this as an unwelcome return the the days of the troubles. 

Belfast has a celebration on the 12th of July every year to mark the anniversary of the Protestant King William's victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 over the Catholic King James. On the night of the 11th July (11th night),  bonfires are lit across the city at midnight. This is often seen as provocative especially when Irish flags are hung on the fires before they are lit. 

Both communities have similarities in so much that both groups try to police themselves, keeping the Police at arms length and sometimes dealing internally with issues. Punishments are well documented and can be harsh, with the recipients in need of hospital treatment. Some of the regular graffiti in Derry acts as a stark reminder to those who might think about liaising with the PSNI.

My photographs are of both the Loyalist and Republican communities and I hope to try and capture the strength of feeling that runs deep on both sides.