One Day in July, Northern Ireland 1987-1998
(Cafe Royal Press)
Cafe Royal's first publication for 2022 is a new title from photographer Mike Abrahams, One Day in July Northern Ireland 1987–1998.
Each summer, across Northern Ireland, Loyalist marchers take to the streets on July 12th, commemorating the victory of the Protestant King William of Orange (a Dutchman), over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. For the loyalist community, the flute bands fire up, the bonfires are big and there is a carnival atmosphere.
For those on the other side of the political and religious divide, these events are often viewed as provocative.
For the rest of the UK - with the possible exception of sectarian Scotland, these celebrations and agressions pass almost entirely unnoticed. Most British people do not give much thought to the closest remaining corner of their empire.
In the 30 years since the signing of the Belfast and Good Friday Peace agreement a lot changed in Northern Ireland, tolerance raged. But Brexit threatens to undo much of the past good work in a very wilful fashion. Northern Ireland stands to benefit massively economically from being both in the UK and within the Single Market, possibly the only area of Britain to see real economic growth. Success for the people of Northern Ireland has not always been a major concern for the denizens of Westminster, if at all, and has most recently become little more than an opportunistic dreamland on which to manufacture anger and discontent at the European Union for the benefit of… I don’t know who benefits. Their cost-benefit analysts must’ve come up with something.
As an observational photographer, Mike Abrahams says “my concern has always been to document the often quiet and unreported insignificant moments that make up the day to day lived experiences of ordinary people living through extraordinary times.”
One Day in July Northern Ireland is Mike’s fourth photography collection with Cafe Royal.
Mike Abrahams at Cafe Royal Press is here