An insight into the lives revolving around Belfast’s shipping ports in the 1830s is provided courtesy of feisty young narrator Gilbert Rice. The uncertainties of the industrial age are mirrored in Gilbert’s tumultuous love affair with Polish barmaid Maria. The foreboding in the air as Belfast struggles with tensions old and new is palpable, and I was drawn, effortlessly, into a bygone age of insurgency.
I tried to let go or redirect my aim, but it was as though the pistol was moulded to my hand, my arms locked in position. The powder flared in the pan and the expression on my grandfather's face passed in a fraction of a second from horror to resignation.