The North of Ireland is a complicated place – especially in July. Every year makeshift towers of debris, old tires, and wooden pallets reach higher and higher into the sky. They are decorated with sectarian slogans, political effigies, Irish flags (or Ivory Coast ones, since some can’t tell the difference between the two), and serious threats against Catholics, opposing politicians, Irish men and women, minorities, and the gay community. These dangerous displays are what they call culture this time of year and they are a horrifying example of the division that continues to exist in the North.
The beginning of September is a nightmare for parents. They say that getting their kids ready for learning and getting back into the swing of the school year is always the hardest during the first week. There’s a lot of pressure already on everyone. So what happens when an actual battle is being waged every day on top of that and your little girls are being attacked? Well, everything and everyone explodes – just ask the people in the area of Ardoyne, near the interface.