The Atlantic

How Brexit Threatens Peace in Northern Ireland

The effective lack of a border between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom helped end violence on the island.
Source: Paul Faith / AFP / Getty

It was music that first brought me to Belfast.

In the 1990s, I would travel from Dublin to see bands play at Queen’s University, though I never ventured much beyond the school. There was a justifiable tension in the city—British army patrols were commonplace, and all vehicles crossing the border that separated the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland were stopped and checked by security forces who were young, armed, and nervous. Getting through was always a relief, a palpable lifting of the tension, tempered only by the fact that I knew I would have to cross again, hours later, to go home.

Music still brings me to Belfast, though now it’s for vinyl. Secondhand music

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