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The Last House of Ulster: A Family in Belfast

In the 1970’s when Charlie Foran was 19 years old, he met the McNallys, an ordinary Catholic family living in North Belfast. For a young Canadian in Ireland for the first time, this trip was an eye-opener in every possible way. Despite his own Irish-Canadian roots, Foran felt he was not only visiting a foreign country, but that he was dropped in the middle of a war zone. Over the years and many trips, Foran has come to understand that the McNally home is a window onto the world of North Belfast. In the McNally sitting room, Foran learns to share the Northern Irish love of the gently barbed teasing and joking known as “the crack”, rambling conversation, endless cups of tea. But he also senses the submerged tensions between father and son as they debate the volatile and enmeshing politics of their country, and the anguish of a mother who drives her children into exile, safe from the terrorists bombs and sniper’s bullets.

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