When Deanes Restaurant in Belfast won a Michelin Star in 1997, it signaled a new era for a city better known for bombs than bon viveurs. With rising unemployment and bankruptcies, lunch now costs as little as 6.50 pounds ($10.20) as it tries to lure customers.
Belfast store clerk Chantal McCarthy never thought she would have to find a new home at the age of 57. That was before her husband lost his job as a builder three years ago and their finances spiraled downward from there.
Robert Ireland and John Bryars are from opposite sides of the 40-foot concrete walls that still embody the sectarian divide in Belfast. Fifteen years after a peace agreement was supposed to replace violence with prosperity, they are united only by unemployment.
I admired Margaret Thatcher the way I admired, feared (and loved) my mother. I didn’t share Thatcher’s politics but stood in awe when, through sheer conviction and resolve, she did what needed to be done. Both women were working-class but managed to go toe-to-toe with privilege. Both were charismatic and domineering, controversial and unafraid. Prime Minister Thatcher had a majority in Parliament to accomplish her agenda. My mother had me.
The April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon show little of the evil genius displayed on Sept. 11, 2001, only diabolical fiendishness. But the bombings occurred at a place, near the finish line, and a time, four hours after the race began, when crowds would be dense.