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.