Welcome to the new blog. East Belfast Diary retains many of the features of the old South Belfast Diary, such as the majority of its name. I expect the content will be broadly similar too. I’m sure I’ll keep writing about politics, although from a slightly different perspective now that I’m no longer a member of a political party. I’ll continue to reflect on the strange world of academia and on aspects of everyday life which fascinate or horrify. I may include some posts on the very interesting history of East Belfast, and perhaps some more content on my academic specialisms of urban regeneration and housing. I hope there'll be time for a few book, TV and film reviews too, along with occasional accounts of my continuing struggle to learn the Irish language.
South Belfast hasn’t quite been left behind – I still work there. But getting to know our new neighbourhood has been a very positive experience. Although we’re further from the centre of Belfast, it feels less suburban than did the part of Stranmillis where we used to live. The variety in house types, the social mix (in terms of class) and the accessibility of shops and other facilities reminds us of London.
It’s also clear that East Belfast has a very distinct identity, more so I would say than South. What does East Belfast mean to you? You might mention the shipyards (there used to be more than one), Titanic Quarter, George Best, Van Morrison, CS Lewis, Freedom Corner, Cyprus Avenue, the UDA, the Robinsons, the Paisleys, Castlereagh, Stormont, IKEA, Aldens, the UWC strike, Connswater Community Greenway, Kincora, the Twelfth, Naomi Long, Cluan Place, the Short Strand, City Airport, Glenn Patterson….
There will be plenty to write about.