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These islands

Belfast has changed beyond all recognition since the IRA ceasefire. But if you come here for a stag or hen night, leave your novelty water pistol at home

By Aarathi Prasad   June 2007

When I moved to Northern Ireland in 1989, you could buy a terraced house in certain rough parts of Belfast for £3,000 or £4,000. Today, one of these “artisan houses” (as estate agents call them) would cost you £150,000.

The process that got us these staggering price rises started with the IRA ceasefire in 1994 and culminated on Tuesday 7th May 2007, with the coronation at Stormont of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness as first and deputy first minister respectively. While the ceremony was surprising for its excess—the enthusiasm of these representatives of loyalism and republicanism for one another’s jokes,…

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