Behind two houses is a large wall structure made out of corrugated iron
Ailís Ní Ríain — History of the present. Image by: @CAIN

Ailís Ní Ríain – The History of the Present

The History of the Present is a new opera by Ailís Ní Ríain and Maria Fusco based on the narrative surrounding Belfast’s peacelines.

Peacelines first appeared in Belfast in 1969, intended only as temporary structures, some are just a few hundred yards long, others over three miles. They’re still there today, steadfast symbols of the Troubles.

The History of the Present takes as its starting point recordings of Belfast-born writer Maria Fusco, made at ‘her’ peace line, as she walks the perimeter of the wall from the Catholic area she grew up in, across the other side of wall, into a Protestant area for the first time. The work explores boundary, voice, trauma, and how the past intrudes into the present.