In the Belfast Telegraph, Pól Ó Muirí recalls his parents generation’s view of Belfast, “a physically unified (though not always united) place”, and compares that view with what he sees now –
To paraphrase Charles Haughey, Belfast is a failed civic entity. It has imploded into four separate states – north, south, east and west – and, too often, the impovrishment of space is matched by one of spirit.
Worth noting, also, his comparison of Belfast and Edinburgh –
There is no common bond that binds Belfast people together; no mass industries; no common football team; little communal space and no common festival.
Edinburgh (the city Belfast could have been) has one internationally regarded festival; Belfast hosts three – one at Queen’s for nice middle-class people; one in west Belfast for nice rebels and one in the Cathedral Quarter for nice people who like a little bit of rough but think west Belfast a step too far.
Belfast, no mean city, has become no man’s city, the streets its trenches – and no one has a plan to stop its continuing disintegration.