Wasteland and Peaceline Wall

Corrugated iron and wire high fence; cleared housing leaving derelict site

The space is but an emblematic example of the urban and sectarian blight of sections of Belfast. Cleared terrace housing demolished during the Troubles era which has not been redeveloped is left as wasteland on one side of a dividing “Peaceline” wall which demarcates an “interface” area in which segregated communities are kept apart. On the far side of the peaceline more recent housing from the 1990s is visible almost abutting the wall. The foreground site on the “Loyalist” side has been the site of Eleventh Night bonfires made up of wooden palettes and rubber car tyres. The image was taken as part of a collection of photographs by Henrietta Williams which investigated visually Belfast’s interface areas. In the catalogue Foreword, she writes, “Eighty percent of those killed in Belfast during the conflict were within 500m of a peaceline. These locations were some of the worst battlegrounds of the Troubles and continue to act as a focus for violence in Belfast. The areas closest to the inversely named “peacelines” are still the most dangerous parts of Northern Ireland. There are complex borders between communities. The longest peaceline runs three miles long and divides the Shankill Road from the Lower Falls Road, yet other walls are much shorter, encircling and splitting communities in a more problematic set of divisions. In other locations interfaces are invisible: an underground wall in a cemetery dividing the dead [Belfast City Cemetary]; the Westlink motorway; two bus stops at the same location for different communities.” The peacelines were intended to be temporary structures; however, there are now estimated to be up to 30 miles of dividing walls throughout North and West Belfast. The peacelines of Belfast, while not architectural, are nonetheless dominant structural elements of the built environment and they remain as physical markers and reminders that the normalization in housing and civic space has some way to go.

When it was originally erected it stood as the first major wall of its kind in the country. Since then the number of divides across Belfast City have increased. They range from mesh fences to larger sturdy constructs. The length of each of the peace lines vary from a few hundred yards to over three miles. The peace line at Cupar street is one of the largest.

Further Infomation


Cupar Way located in West Belfast


Between Cupar Way and Bombay Street,

West Belfast




54.600687, -5.955533


Year Opened



Corrugated iron and wire high fence; cleared housing leaving derelict site


Wasteland with Peaceline Wall running in parallel