Since the onset of the Troubles in 1971, Nationalist and Loyalist communities throughout Northern Ireland have been divided by Peace Walls. These large stone and steel constructions were designed to protect neighbourhoods from sporadic attacks and retain a sense of peace and protection.
Of the city's 17 walls, West Belfast's sections are the most visited. Once in the area it's easy to determine which side of the divide you're on: red, white and blue kerbstones, Loyalist murals and Union Jacks indicate you're on the Shankill. If the kerbs are green, white and gold, the flag is Irish and the murals are Republican, you're on the Falls.
You can cross from one side to the other via access roads at Lanark Way and Northumberland Street. These roads close in times of heightened tension, which may well be the case during the marching season (see The Twelfth).