Short Strand

Origins

Nestled against the River Lagan, the parish, which is generally known as the "Short Strand", spreads from the Lower Newtownards Road along the Short Strand itself across the Albert Bridge Road and takes in the Mountpottinger and Seaforde Street areas to its borderline of Bryson Street. It is a close-knit parish of 2,600 people where many families are related through several generations of settlement creating a core of community spirit.

Since the latter years of the nineteenth century when sectarian violence took hold in Belfast, St. Matthew's Parish has been to the fore of conflict as its people suffered for both their religion and nationality.

The parish of St. Matthews houses one of the oldest Catholic communities in Belfast, which dates back to 1830. A temporary church served the small community until the present church was consecrated in 1887 to serve the now expanding parish.

It is a history fraught with conflict; its geographical layout on the fringes of Unionist East Belfast has drawn it directly into the annals of sectarian warfare that has engulfed Belfast dating back to 1857.

From partition in 1921, to the recent conflict, the Short Strand played a pivotal role in the struggle, its republican base rooted very much in the community.

Often described as "a community apart", it is driven by self-reliance and community empowerment.

Origins
Origins
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