Peace Line


The most visible sign of the divisions that have scarred the area for so long are the so-called 'peace walls' that controversially divide Belfast's Protestant and Catholic communities, covering some 34km in all. The longest section divides Falls Rd and the Shankill in West Belfast; its steel gates are generally open during daytime hours.

Begun in 1969 as a 'temporary measure', the 6m-high walls of corrugated steel, concrete and chain link have outlasted the Berlin Wall. In 2013 local government ministers pledged to dismantle 60 of Northern Ireland's 110 peace walls by 2023, but progress has been slow, in part because some local communities feel the walls offer them protection. In 2016 the first peace wall was demolished with the removal of the barrier on Belfast's Crumlin Rd; the peace wall on Springfield Rd was remodelled the following year.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Belfast attractions

1. Solidarity Wall

0.15 MILES

The Solidarity Wall is a collection of murals expressing Republican sympathies with, among others, the Palestinians, the Kurds and the Basques.

3. Conway Mill

0.36 MILES

Conway Mill is a restored 19th-century flax mill that now houses artists' studios and work spaces for local enterprises. It also contains the Eileen…

4. Sinn Féin Headquarters

0.47 MILES

The red-brick Sinn Féin Headquarters has the famous mural of a smiling Bobby Sands, the hunger striker who was elected as MP for West Belfast just a few…

5. Linen Hall Library

0.52 MILES

Established in 1788 to 'improve the mind and excite a spirit of general inquiry', the Linen Hall Library houses some 260,000 books, more than half of…

6. Grand Opera House

0.52 MILES

One of Belfast's great Victorian landmarks is the Grand Opera House. Opened in 1895 and completely refurbished in the 1970s, it sustained severe IRA-bomb…

7. Clifton House

0.53 MILES

Belfast's finest surviving Georgian building is Clifton House, built in 1774 by Robert Joy (Henry Joy McCracken’s uncle) as a poorhouse. It is now used as…

8. Crumlin Road Gaol

0.55 MILES

Guided tours of Belfast's notorious Crumlin Road Gaol take you from the tunnel beneath Crumlin Rd, built in 1850 to convey prisoners from the courthouse…