Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Tensions are never far beneath the surface in Ulster.
Protests from British nationalists have become a fixture in front of Belfast City Hall in the month since the City Council voted to restrict flying the Union Jack to certain days of the year.
Now, in addition to those daytime sit-ins, the city has undergone four consecutive nights of rioting, scenes that recall Ulster's troubled past. Over 50 police officers have been injured in battles with hundred of protesters throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails.
Tonight, the City Council meets for the first time since the vote on the Union Jack, which has traditionally flown over City Hall every day of the year.
All images: Cathal McNoughton/Reuters.