Friday, July 30, 2010

August Féile - West Belfast Festival

From the largest free festival in Belfast to the biggest community festival in Ireland!

While Belfast Pride reaches its peak on Saturday with music in Custom House Square from noon and its parade through the city centre starting at 2pm and, the West Belfast Festival – the August Féile – is just starting its programme.

August Féile festival programme cover

Féile an Phobail pack an enormous number of events into their ten day programme.

If you’re quick, you’ll catch the book sale in St Mary’s University College on Saturday morning (11am, 31 July) or park up to watch Mamma Mia in the drive in movie theatre at Anderstown Leisure Centre at 10pm.

Creationism for Dummies – by a Dummy (Alan McKee from Grimes and McKee) is promising to “be your unreliable guide out of the darkness or superstition, towards the enlightment of science” in Roddy MacCorley Social Club, Glen Road on Saturday at 8pm.

Chaired by Eilish Rooney, a panel will discuss the question of an Amnesty for the Truth about past events in the Conway Education Centre in Conway Mill on Monday 2 at 7.30pm. The panel includes Micky Culbert, Alan McBride, Louise Mallinder and Colm Campbell.

The now-annual community discussion feature on Wednesday 4 August. West Belfast Youth Talks Back in St Louise’s at 2pm, followed by the less youthful West Belfast Talks Back at 7.30pm. The evening panel includes Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP), Naomi Long (Alliance), Barry McElduff (Sinn Féin) and Finton O’Toole (columnist, author and commentator).

Also on Wednesday, the Russian Chamber Philharmonic St. Petersburg Orchestra supported by the Féile Women’s Singing Group promises a musical treat at 7pm in Clonard Monastery.

And over in Colin Glen Forest Park Centre at 7.30pm on Wednesday, the history and development of the Bible in the Irish language will be presented to mark the release of An Biobla Naofa as a free digital download.

Lenny Henry is leading the bill on Thursday night’s comedy night.

One intriguing drama Heist is playing in Trinity Lodge (Turf Lodge) on Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 at 8pm. Written by Kieron Magee, it looks at the Northern Bank robbery in Belfast in 2004, switching between the courtroom and the robbery itself.

You’ll find the full programme together with the ticket booking on the Féile website, though many of the events are free.

Anne Frank [and you} - Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey

Anne Frank [and you} logo

Anne Frank [+ you} is a touring exhibition that looks at the life and death of Anne Frank during the Second World War, and relates it to contemporary discrimination, exclusion and other social issues facing today’s society.

“Anne Frank represents over 1 million children put to death by Nazis during the Second World War.”

Anne Frank [and you} exhibition

Having already spent time this year in Strabane as well as the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road, on Monday the exhibition opened in Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Civic Centre off Carnmoney Road North beside Mossley railway halt.

Northern Ireland Friends of Israel hosted a packed reception on Tuesday night to welcome the exhibition to the area. Launched in March 2009, amongst NIFI’s other aims is the desire to

foster strong cultural, economic and political ties between Northern Ireland and Israel, to build a better understanding between the peoples of Northern Ireland and of Israel.

Newtownabbey’s Mayor Paula Bradley spoke warmly (and ably) about the effect Anne Frank’s Diary had on her when she read it first as a child and then subsequently as she grew older. Gillian Walnes – director of the Anne Frank Trust UK – introduced the exhibition and gave a synopsis of Anne’s life along with a call to

“reflect on the injustices around us, in this country and right the way around the world.”

And the Minister for Culture Arts and Leisure Nelson McCausland, who had helped orchestrate the exhibition on the Shankill Road, spoke of the particular power a personal story has to give insights into issues and to “ask about the moral questions we face today”. (Nelson blogged about the launch event.) He also felt that

“through art and creativity we can engage with culture and educate others.”

The exhibition on the third floor of Mossley Mill walks through the timeline of Anne Frank’s life and the Holocaust. There’s a near life size replica of her room in the secret Annexe.

Having spent more than two years concealed, someone snitched and the eight Jews who had been hiding were arrested by the German and Dutch authorities.

From the Anne Frank [and you} exhibition

Anne died less than a year later in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp following a typhus epidemic. Of the eight, only her father – Otto Frank – survived to the end of the war. He published Anne’s diaries.

Anne Frank [and you} exhibition

Behind the section of the exhibition focussing on the Frank family is material that explores

  • Political persecution and injustice – Tibetan protesters in London during the Olympic Torch relay; Muslim girls not being allowed to wear headscarves to school; Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention in Burma.

  • Racial abuse – with a video message from Ashley Cole; the murder of 18 year old Stephen Lawrence in 1993 by a gang of 5 or 6 white youths; 7,000 Muslim men and boys murdered by Christian Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica.

  • Indifference and responsibility – which looked at the Zimbabwean cricketers Andy Flower and Henry Olonga who chose to wear black armbands during the 2003 Cricket World Cup to “mourn the death of democracy in our beloved Zimbabwe” and who suffered the consequences.

  • Conflicts and peace.

  • Inclusion and exclusion.
Anne Frank [and you} exhibition

There’s also a short film (with a seated area) which provides greater detail about Anne Frank’s story than is covered on the exhibition posters. It’s very much aimed at teenage school children, though has plenty to say to adults too!

The exhibition is open Monday – Saturday in Mossley Mill until 29 September when it will transfer to Lisburn Library (3 – 30 October) before heading to Newry and possibly Enniskillen later in the year.

Visitors are encouraged to leave comments. One summed it up well:

Comment left by a visitor at the Anne Frank [and you} exhibition in Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey

Monday, July 26, 2010

Donegall Road incongruities

Over on Slugger there was much conversation about bonfires, flags on bonfires and other Eleventh Night capers. Within a minutes walk of each other are two sites on the Donegall Road that both deal with wood.

Donegall Road, Belfast - bonfire site

One scene depicts the site where wooden pallets were piled and burnt, the blaze so hot that the fence by the City Hospital buckled and the paint melted. Wasn't too good for the Virgin Media cabinet either.

Donegall Road, Belfast - tree recycling firm

But just up the road is another site that deals with wood: the Tree Recycling Eco Enterprise!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The largest free festival in Belfast ...

Belfast Pride Festival logo

This blog mentions a good number of festivals each year.

Last night saw the launch of this year's "largest free festival in Belfast" ... Belfast Pride. It's twenty years since the first pride parade through Belfast. To mark the milestone, the organisers produced a half hour documentary Pride, Sweat and Tears looking back at the parades and the festival that grew out of it.

Pride marches around the world are very much small 'p' political events, asserting people's rights and making a collective and proud stand against prejudice that remains in most societies. Last night's launch was an opportunity for Belfast's current Lord Mayor, Councillor Pay Convery, to turn up and support the local LGBT community. Speaking before the screening, he commented on Belfast City Council's support for the Pride Festival, the economic and cultural benefit to Belfast, as well as praising the "ongoing work of the LGBT community in making Belfast a more inclusive and welcoming city".

Together with archive footage of the first parade, participants over the years recalled their experiences, hopes and fears. Last year's Lord Mayor of Belfast Naomi Long and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness made strong contributions through their filmed interviews. There was space too in the short film to examine the protests that have accompanied each Belfast Pride parade. In the film respect was voiced for the right to protest. However the sight of church groups turning their backs as protesters passed, as well as some more aggressive interventions, lacked grace and dignity. It was humorously commented that Rev David McIlveen has probably been to more pride marches than many of the current organisers!

Hopefully the film will get other outings (pun unintended!) and a wider audience. Last week, Belfast Pride ran a short film festival in the newly-beige Baby Grand, including Milk.

You'll find two events in the Europa Hotel on Monday night (26 July). Amnesty International's Annual Pride Lecture will be given by Senator David Norris at 6.30pm. He was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland (elected to Seanad Éireann in 1987) and has recently declared himself an independent candidate to succeed Mary McAleese as Irish President. Later, at 8pm, Pride Talks Back with a panel of guests answering questions from the assembled audience.

Update - Patrick Corrigan has posted a good summary of the event on the Amnesty NI blog. The final panel consisted of Bairbre de Brún (SF MEP), Anna Lo (Alliance MLA), Basic McCrea (UUP MLA), Conall McDevitt (SDLP MLA), Rev David McIlveen (Free Presbyterian church) and Senator David Norris. The DUP continued to fail to provide a representative to participate in the annual LGBT politics event. Rev David McIlveen comes out of it much more humanely than his media persona sometimes suggests.

The actual parade meanders through the city centre (slightly rerouted due to the Streets Ahead roadworks) on Saturday 31 July. The parade leaves Custom House Square at 2pm, where there is music beforehand (from noon) and afterwards - including UK Eurovision Song Contest entrant (came second last) Scooch.

There's a Church Service in All Soul's in Elmwood Avenue on Sunday 1 August at 3pm in partnership with Changing Attitude Ireland and The Gathering.

And as mentioned in the video clip above, Belfast Pride is expanding into the theatre, with a week long run for Philip Ridley's new play Vincent River at the Crescent Arts Centre.

Until July 30, a photographic exhibition looking back at the twenty years of Pride marches in Belfast is on display in Belfast Central Library.

The full range of festival events are listed on the Belfast Pride website.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TTVs ad infinitum

Moochin Photoman's TTV (Through the Viewfinder) exhibition at the Waterfront Hall

The scale of the TTV exhibition up on the second floor of the Waterfront Hall is impressive. The faces go on for ever, bending around the gentle curve of the wall.

Moochin Photoman's TTV (Through the Viewfinder) exhibition at the Waterfront Hall

It's great fun spotting people and locations you recognise.

Moochin Photoman's TTV (Through the Viewfinder) exhibition at the Waterfront Hall

The diversity of faces captured by Moochin Photoman over the months is so fascinating, and the images submitted by other TTVers pose many questions as you look at them.

Examples from other TTVers at Moochin Photoman's TTV (Through the Viewfinder) exhibition at the Waterfront Hall

Well worth a visit. Catch it before the exhibition closes on Saturday night, when people can take a photo off the wall and take it home!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Guerilla knitting hits the Waterfront flock

It's not the first time the sheep (and shepherd) in front of the Waterfront Hall have been decorated.

In March last year they adopted red noses to coincide with Comic Relief.

But over the last few days, someone has taken pity on them standing out in the summer rain and made them more cosy ... as well as more colourful.

I'm not sure whether it's related to the Trans / Urban Arts Academy festival running in the Waterfront - maybe the weekend Clothes Customisation course? - or whether it's an unrelated act of guerilla knitting? But I'm sure someone will know and comment.

Update - local legend Moochin Photoman has the story of "yarn bombed as part of Craft Month organised by Craft NI" ... and BBC NI News Online!

Living in a small wooden box for a year - practical architecture!

Replica of Kan Isaacs' micro home - Urban Nomad

Asked to picture a "small scale, portable dwelling" and you may think of a caravan or a modest motor-home. Think again!

Student Alec Farmer's interest in the 1960/1970's Urban Nomad architecture movement is about to move from theory to practice.

He has created a replica of a 50 year old design from Ken Isaacs (author of How To Build Your Own Living Structures) and he plans to live in it, in the centre of Glasgow, Scotland, for one year starting in September.

Alec Farmer sitting inside his replica Ken Isaacs' micro home - Urban Nomad

I think Alec is being fair when he describes Isaacs' design as

"smaller than architecture but bigger than furniture"

Considerably smaller than the micro-compact homes I blogged about in October 2008. You can follow Alec's experience (as well as catch up on the build process) on his UN v2.0 blog.

(Attribution - photos in this post taken from UN v2.0.)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mass crime scene in Belfast - 2pm at Custom House Square

A couple of weeks ago in a post previewing this summer's Trans festival, I mentioned the the Vent Collective’s latest participative art project – No VENTilation – creating an enormous crime scene somewhere in Belfast.

Quick reminder that it's taking place in Custom House Square at 2pm on Sunday 18 July. Come along, bring your friends, lie down in a "murderous pose" and get ready to have your outline chalked as part of the giant. There will be a time lapse film of the mass participation event.

And don't forget that the Through The Viewfinder exhibition (featuring the work of Moochin Photoman and other TTV photographers) is still running upstairs in the Waterfront. On the final evening, Saturday 24, you can go along and collect your favourite image and take it home with you.

(Image from a previous event near the Waterfront / Hilton Hotel in May - from the No Ventilation Facebook page.)

The leaning tower of Dumfries

Leaning building in Dumfries town centre

There's something of the Albert Clock about this building in the middle of Dunfries town centre!

River Nith was swollen in Dumfries

The River Nith running through Dunfries was swollen with all the recent heavy rainfall.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A legendary victory – City of Culture 2013 – Derry~Londonderry

As the voxpops in the bid video say:

"I am Derry. I am Londonderry. I am legendary."

Hundreds and thousands of words will be written in posts and comments about the winning City of Culture 2013. For me it's a remarkable win. The most westerly city in the UK won a national competition. It's not just out of London, or outside the M25, or over the Pennines ... it's over the water too.

The whole bid process seems to have given Derry a real confidence boost.

For a city council that regularly debates what the city should be called, never mind the debate about which principality any individual would like it to reside in, it was remarkable that a bid containing both names "Derry~Londonderry" should be made to a UK (rather than European) competition. In terms of capacity building, it's a major leap forward. And a major achievement for the talented bid team who no doubt overcame many obstacles in their way.

Now seems to be the time for NI's second city to stand up proud and show us all what it's made of. There are a few years leading up to 2013 for the citizens of Derry to enter into dialogue with each other - and to allow the rest of us to listen in - about how to find ways of celebrating the many cultures (a lot more than just two) that can be found in the north west.

Time too for Belfast to pay attention, and get ready to make the journey up over the Glenshane Pass to take part in the events that will be organised. It's not that far!

In the context of unwelcome parades, community mistrust and tension that spills over into this week's violence and mayhem in Belfast and beyond, lessons of mutual understanding, dialogue and gracious accommodation may been to gently spread down from the north west to reach those parts of NI that are harder to reach. More on that another time.

(Originally posted over on Slugger O'Toole)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dinosaur nests and a Zeedonk

On Saturday we headed across to Groombridge Place "Gardens and Enchanted Forest". As well as giant swings and an aerial boardwalk, there were other child-friendly attractions that would have looked appropriate in an episode of Primeval.


Not sure if the deep water was the only hazard in the photo above?

A dragon's nest at Groombridge?

And then there was the Zeedonk - a donkey with stripy legs.

Zeedonk at Groombridge

Spot the anachronism?

Spot the anachronism in the history of computing section of London's Science Museum?

Pegasus computer plus an anachronism!

Given the Acorn/BBC Computer Literacy Project get together in 2008, and rumours of an upgraded display, the computing section was disappointing, despite the decent history and exploration of the contributions of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace (which includes Babbage's brain and several machines built using Babbage's plans).

Monday, July 12, 2010

David Cameron in ... police escort?

It's hard to believe that I haven't been in London since last November. We travelled in from Sussex to central London this morning to wander around a museum or two, and allow Littl'un to see some of the sights.

The view of Westminster (the tower holding Big Ben) as you come up the stairs on the way out of Westminster tube station

There's an imposing view as you come up the steps out of Westminster tube station.

David Cameron passing by near Parliament

When he came to power as the new Prime Minister in early May, David Cameron suggested that a police escort was unnecessary, and that he would take his chances in the London traffic. The police protested, and the story disappeared from the news agenda. As we crossed the road this morning from Parliament across towards Portcullis House, police outriders appeared, blowing their whistles to warn and control the pedestrians and clear the road for PM's car to pass. It definitely looked like David Cameron sitting sideways as the car swooshed around the corner. Half the size of escort that used to accompany previous PMs ... so some sign of recession!

Police outrider escorting David Cameron part Parliament

Monday, July 05, 2010

Billy (book, about bookcases)

As someone who has had experience of building and filling seven Billy bookcases in a weekend, I was quite tempted to buy Ikea's celebration of all things Billy when I spotted it last week.

But I didn't!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The C.S. Lewis Belfast International Airport … or maybe Jim Megaw?

Whenever Belfast City Airport announced that they were going to incorporate George Best into the airport name, I remember an online rumour that the other airport would join the trend and become the Gloria Hunniford Belfast International Airport.

A flyer with the message below was distributed to delegates at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in June.

I have a dream –

“ The C.S. Lewis Belfast International Airport.”

At a time when many people feel downhearted and many Christians feel under attack, I would like to share a vision which is positive, uplifting and will be appreciated by literally millions of people around the world. My vision is that we name Belfast International Airport “The C.S. Lewis Belfast International Airport.”

C.S. Lewis is Belfast’s, Ulster’s and Ireland’s most famous, widely read, quoted and popular person. Literary criticism, Christian Doctrine, children’s fantasy, allegory, science fiction, letters and a diary describing his experience of bereavement – he was a literary giant and most of his work is still in print. Most of the people flying into Belfast International Airport will know who C.S. Lewis is; that he came from Belfast may surprise them. Let us honour this great man and remind the world that Ireland is truly a land of saints and scholars sometimes both in one person.

God bless you.

Rev. Jack Lamb, minister/teaching elder, Townsend Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast

If you share my vision please consider telling your local minister of the Gospel, councillor, MLA, MP and MEP. With your help I believe this dream can come true.

It’s unfortunate that C.S. Lewis is best known for his childhood in East Belfast, closer to the City Airport than the International!

Still from Stewarts Supermarkets / Crazy Prices advert featuring Jim Megaw

And while C.S. Lewis is certainly a worth export that Northern Ireland can be proud of, if there was justice in the world, shouldn’t someone be suggesting that it become the Jim Megaw Belfast International Airport?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Drumcree by John Pickering

Cover of book - Drumcree by John Pickering

“I have always had the feeling that many people I met never really understood the issues surrounding Drumcree, remaining so distant from it, and perhaps being swayed by prejudiced viewpoints.” John Pickering, Rector of Drumcree Parish, 1983 – 2007.

Living and working through the early years of the Drumcree protests in the mid 1990s, I grew accustomed to making my way home from the centre of Belfast to Lisburn on public transport, sometimes walking up as far as the City Hospital to avoid problems at Botanic or the recently reopened Great Victoria Street station. My protest at other people’s protest was that I continued to come into work each day and didn’t leave the country and go on holiday.

In the first few years, Orangemen – joined by other loyalist groups – blocked roads in towns and cities. Disturbances escalated and trouble flared across Northern Ireland. The Renault showroom in Ballymena lost most of the cars in its forecourt when they were set on fire. Kate Adie reported from the early July warzone that centred around the Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

Many of the television pictures from that period included Drumcree Parish church in the background, set up on the hill overlooking the evermore sophisticated barriers that blocked the road. I often asked myself why the rector John Pickering continued to host the local brethren in his church on the Sunday morning before 12 July each year? In what way did the service, and the carnage around it, glorify God?

Last year, Pickering published a book simply titled Drumcree. It’s a fascinating read, and one that changed my mind about his actions and reversed my internal condemnation of what he was doing.

Living in the middle of the action, Pickering and his family became caught up in the negotiations between Orange officials, politicians, police and residents. He describes one incident from the first year in 1995:

“At 9.00pm as the rally was concluding and before Rev. T. R. B. Taylor said a closing prayer, about a dozen unruly youths began to attack the RUC at the blockade. This lasted for about an hour. On hearing this Olive and I decided to go up to the rectory and watch from an upstairs window to get a better idea of what was happening. I saw that a group of about 250 people had entered the field beside the blockade and about 24 of them were throwing stones and missiles at the RUC and trying to make their way to the Garvaghy Road. They were soon prevented from doing so by the RUC, who fired rubber bullets.”

The annual protests took a toll on Pickering’s family life, as well as disrupting his pattern of eating and sleeping. The church didn’t escape unscathed.

“On Thursday 13th July Olive and I left for Dublin … but had to return to Drumcree the next day because … there had been a firebomb attack on the Parochial Hall and the front doors had been badly scorched.”

The Church of Ireland Synod became a place that Drumcree and the church’s involvement was regularly discussed. Pickering sought to distance “the attendance of Orangemen at services in Drumcree” from being classified as a form of sectarianism. In a speech to the May 1997 Synod he talked about the Sunday morning service.

“The Orangemen attend the service like any other people coming to worship … The stand-off at Drumcree, took place on the public road after the service and was separate from the service and the Church … What took place outside my church was going to happen somewhere in Northern Ireland and it just happened to take place at Drumcree … And do let it be remembered, that it has been said that if the stand off had not been outside Drumcree Church, but further along the road, then the influence of the Church for calm would have been absent. It has also been said, ‘The surprise about Drumcree was not how bad it was, but how mild it was and how little happened afterwards.’” [emphasis reproduced from the book’s text]

Drumcree Four in 1998 was a bloody year.

“There were about 8,000 people on Monday evening. I phoned Jonathan Powell, the Pam’s Chief of Staff, at No10 Downing Street at 1.00am on Tuesday 7th to tell him how serious the situation had become and he said he would speak to the PM. 10,000 gathered on Tuesday evening and 16,000 on Wednesday evening … the first days of the week were fairly peaceful at Drumcree. However, there was dreadful violence in many other parts of the province.”

On the Thursday evening “an unruly element infiltrated the crowd” of 20,000. Blast bombs were thrown and police officers were injured. Friday saw more trouble, and a woman student lost an eye after being hit by a plastic bullet. Yet Pickering explains that

“… there was a carnival air as people met up with old friends … partaking of the refreshments that were available in abundance from the tea, soft drinks and burger stalls. I found it very difficult to understand this, while there was so much disorder elsewhere … a parishioner said to me, ‘This would be a marvellous experience, if it was not so serious’.”

On the Sunday morning, the three Quinn brothers were murdered in an attack on a house in Ballymoney. William Bingham, then minister of Pomeroy and County Armagh Grand Chaplain “commented that no parade was worth a life” and afterwards clarified what he said “pointing out that he was not against the Drumcree parade”.

That autumn, Pickering received a letter from 160 Church of Ireland clergy asking him and his Select Vestry “to prevent Orangemen from attending morning service in July”. Four days later, the clergy released the letter to the Irish News. After another week, after talking to Select Vestry, Pickering issued a statement rejecting the clergy’s suggestion and explaining that “I will never deny the right of worship to any person including any member of the Orange Order”.

In the book he goes on to explain that “people cannot be prevented from worshipping Almighty God, it is a God given right and a human right, which cannot be denied”. He points out the absurdity of welcoming a parishioner to Sunday services 51 weeks of the year and then refusing him entry on the one week he turns up wearing a sash. Later that month, Archbishop Eames supported his position:

“It has been suggested by some people that either this service should be banned or members of the Orange Order should not be admitted. This is not the way of the Church of Ireland, which is a welcoming Church whose doors are open to all. As Archbishop I uphold that principle.”

Pickering notes irony of the words spoken by the new Archbishop Alan Harper to Pickering’s successor Rev Gary Galway at his institution as rector of Drummer in September 2008. After presented him with the key of a church, Harper said “… let the doors of this place be open to all people”. This coming from the man who proposed the 1999 General Synod Motion that Orangemen be barred from attending worship at Drumcree.

1995 turned out to be one of the quietest years. After handing over their letter of protest and being told that the parade could not continue along the road, Pickering suggested that the crowds should be asked to move off the hill and over into the rectory field for a briefing. There, Harold Gracey addressed them and “affirmed that the protest would continue and that it was to be peaceful”. The potential for tension was defused.

Towards the end of the book, Pickering reflects on his role. He didn’t run away from Drumcree. Instead he decided to stay.

“I realised that the people at Drumcree were in great distress and needed me, the rector, to help them. I saw that the Orange Order was feeling that it did not have a friend, so I decided to be that friend … I am well aware that many criticisms have been made about … their lack of discipline at times and this I would often have concurred with, but when I saw the Order in need, that was a much different matter and it required a pro-active approach.

I reflected upon the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate and entered the world showing the utmost understanding of the needs of all people and exercising absolute compassion towards them. As I thought of how Christ mixed among needy people and helped them, I took him as my example to do the best I could for the needy people at Drumcree.”

There are still some aspects of the church’s involvement at Drumcree that I don’t agree with. But I now have a much greater understanding of how the situation looked from Pickering’s rectory window, and his consistent motivation for acting as peacemaker and broker in the midst of the chaos and hurt.

For anyone who followed the protests in the news – and perhaps still turns on the lunchtime news on Radio Ulster on the Sunday before 12 July to hear if Drumcree gets a mention – Pickering’s book is well worth a read.