Between 1920 and 1922, a period spanning the height and end of the Irish War of Independence, almost 500 people died as a result of sectarian violence in Belfast. For context, that’s roughly one-seventh of the total casualties throughout Northern Ireland during the Troubles of 1968-1998. It was, up until that point, the most intense phase of violence in the city’s history.

As with time immemorial, the conflict occurred largely independently of events unfolding in the south. The bloody war between the IRA and the Crown Forces fared as a potent backdrop, but what played out on the streets of…

Brian Coney

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