We were recently approached by BBC Newsline’s Sara Girvin with a great idea she had for a feature on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
She wanted to take a group of young people from the “Peace Generation” (born after the agreement was signed in 1998) on a trip across Belfast to find out how they felt about the changes that have taken place in Belfast over the last 25 years.
So she commissioned a special Glider trip to take them through Belfast. In case you don’t know, the Belfast Glider is a bus system that connects East and West Belfast and the Titanic Quarter via the city centre. Run by Translink, it started back in 2018 and it’s a great way to get across the city. But 25 years ago, even if a bus route had been available to travel from East to West Belfast, you wouldn’t have had too many passengers on it.
That’s because Belfast was still very much a divided city. People kept to their own areas and the city centre was surrounded by the infamous Ring of Steel – a huge security cordon put in place in the 1970s in an attempt to stop bombs.
Sara wanted our lead guide, Paul Donnelly, to come along for the trip to explain the history to the group and tell them what life was like back then. Sara then asked them how they felt about the difference between now and then and the freedom they have to travel and have friends from all parts of Belfast.