Although on our first few days in Belfast there had been some riots with paint bomb attacks on some old peoples' houses, it didn't seem like the big talk of the day. As I read in a newspaper it seemed not to have been a politically motivated action but only a prank by some youngsters looking for a way to release their anger.
Besides the areas of Shankill Road and Falls Road with their murals, the barbed wire and the euphemistically named 'Peace Wall' separating both quarters, there was hardly any obvious indication of the Troubles.
But talking to the people you sometimes found out really quickly how deeply rooted the aversion of one group to the other still is. A musician of one of the local bands remarked that they had to be careful about which song to play in which part of the city since they might have to expect bottles been thrown at them or even worse.
In Derry/Londonderry the situation seemed to be more ’explosive’. The presence of the police with their almost tank-like cars was much higher than in Belfast, especially on the weekend nights although they were really friendly and didn‘t seem to expect any incidents. The inner city was dominated by the big tower covered with surveillance cameras looking down into the Catholic area, which gave a slight impression of the riots this place had witnessed for years.