“Anyone born and bred in Northern Ireland can’t be too optimistic” - Shamus Heaney
Like many families in the 70’s, we left Belfast to escape 'The Troubles'. I spent most of my childhood in the former seaside town of Bangor on Northern Ireland’s Gold Coast, where small suburban towns and villages are dotted along the southern shore of Belfast Lough, surrounded by open countryside with small family farms.
It’s a relatively affluent region that saw little conflict during "The Troubles", although flags and murals still mark political and religious boundaries. It is one of the most overwhelmingly Protestant parts of Northern Ireland where over three-quarters of the population identify as British.
I graduated from Grammar school in 1988 and became part of the ‘Brain Drain’. 80% of graduates in Northern Ireland leave for higher education elsewhere in the United Kingdom and two-thirds, like me, never return.
These images reflect the Northern Ireland that I grew up in. This is the place I call home.