Belfast Aurora: A Memoir of a Falls Childhood, 1971-1973


Seamus Kelters

In this posthumous memoir from one of the authors of the momentous Troubles chronicle, Lost Lives, Seamus Kelters gives a child’s perspective of the most brutal year of the Troubles in Belfast.

October 2021


‘Soon the summer storms became mainly man-made, rumbling and crackling their way up from the terraces and rolling in from the sprawling new estates. Troubles had come again to Belfast, this city of history, hard men and hatred.’

This is a story of the most brutal years of Belfast’s recent history, told from the perspective of a young boy who loved to write. In Belfast Aurora Seamus Kelters poignantly reflects upon his years growing up on the Falls Road at the height of the Troubles, where he witnessed the Ballymurphy massacre, the fallout of Bloody Sunday and soldiers in the playground.

However, this is not just a Troubles book. It’s a testimony to the love of family and friends in the midst of chaos and tragedy. Within these fifteen stories there are lessons, laughter and all of life in the unique place he called home. It offers not just the tapestry of a life touched by war, but also the brilliant colours of a child’s world bursting like a bright waving flare in his very own Belfast aurora.


About the Author
Acclaimed Belfast journalist Seamus Kelters began his career at The Irish News, where he worked on a number of high-profile investigations, including the wrongful convictions of the Birmingham Six. In the 1990s, he joined the BBC as a broadcast journalist, before moving behind the camera, becoming Assistant Editor of BBC Newsline. He is best known as one of the authors of the landmark book Lost Lives (1999), which documented every death that was caused by the Troubles. He died in 2017, at the age of fifty-four.

Praise for Belfast Aurora
‘Seamus Kelters was a respected journalist, best known as one of the authors of the landmark book Lost Lives, which documented every death from the Troubles in Northern Ireland. He died in 2017, aged 54, from cancer. He wrote this engaging childhood memoir unaware of his illness at the time. Kelters said he wished to set down some stories for his sons, yet any reader will enjoy this compact, heartfelt book. The writing is clear-sighted, unadorned and direct, which makes it so charming. Kelters merges an innocent, childlike telling of the tale with a reporter’s efficient eye for detail. Among the bombs and bullets are lovingly crafted family familiarities: good people living their best possible lives in a bad situation. A fitting testament.’
NJ McGarrigle, The Irish Times

ISBN 9781785374142

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