Northern Ireland is still recovering from its troubled history. Like many countries worldwide it has had to come to terms with being a segregated society; where religion divided, rather than united, communities. The signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 gave Northern Ireland a vision of a shared future where government was at a local level and where Protestants and Catholics could live harmoniously together without fear of sectarianism or violence.
My family and I moved to Northern Ireland from London in 1999. My husband is from here originally, and we decided that with peace now seemingly established, it would provide the perfect backdrop to raising our family – a small town setting where our children could enjoy the freedom denied to them in a large city.
The move was uneventful and we settled into our new home on a small housing estate. This was my first taste of the difference of living in a divided society. Our estate was in one of the few mixed-religion areas – meaning that Catholics and Protestants lived, mainly peacefully, side by side. I naively assumed that all housing areas would be mixed. This was not the case.