There's more to Belfast than troubles
Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
27Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
When I was older, I then didn't think it appropriate to question anything around this, as I felt "I should know!" And anyone I would have asked, I figured it be a sensitive subject, and one that was in the recent past that might cause upset, so I just left it. I feel that the past 'troubles' of NI to most people are just that: past - and should be left there.
Anyway, Lydia and I decided we would do a tour to get a bit of Belfast history
The tour firstly goes to the main areas of "the troubles". Falls Road (the Catholic area) and Shankhill Road (the Protestant area). You know instantly you are in either area because of the wall murals that adorn most of the street walls.
In the Falls Road area, the biggest 'stand-out' thing for me, was when we were told that the block of high flats were used by the British army during "the troubles" to oversee the city. They would land helicopters on the roof, and had control over the top two floors. Since the 1992 'Good Friday agreement', citizens reclaimed the top 2 floors, and the destiny of the roof was put to a vote as to what became of it. The consensus being that it never be flat again so that no more helicopters could ever land there.
The dividing point between the two areas sent a chill down my spine. Memorial gardens on both sides for victims of "the troubles" and then the "peace walls" that divide the two troubled areas
When we turned into the Shankhill Road area, the first thing I noticed was the presence of British flags. I then also noticed a lot of people wearing Rangers football shirts, which, having grown up on the west coast of Scotland, I know is also an association with the protestant religion - something I think is stupid, and I can't stand it when people ask me what football team I support - I know it is usually for a reason - to define your religion, as you'll be 'one or the other' - the fact of the matter is, I don't watch or follow football - end of. I also don't care what 'religion' a person is, to me, it's the person who matters. Equally - end of.
After the troubled areas, we got to see the real Belfast, and I had no idea....
CS Lewis was born here! The author of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'!
The Titanic was built here
We were also told that the Europa hotel (just behind where we were staying) is the most bombed hotel in Europe! Apparently they used to have signs in the lifts saying something along the lines of "Welcome to Europa hotel - the most bombed hotel in Europe"! (I know!!)
There is also a poignant peace symbol by the river.
After the bus tour, Lydia and I went up on the 'Belfast wheel' for views over the city, which was cool. Then Lydia amused me with my favourite quote of the weekend...passing the statue of Queen Victoria in the city centre...
"They don't put statues up in Malaysia because of religion, but if they did, they'd at least make them look pretty, it is the taxpayers money after all! I mean, they could have made her younger, or in her yewt or something" lolololololol!!!! Brilliant Lydia! (I did have to write that quote down so I wouldn't forget!)
Before we left for Dublin, we ate in a local pub recommended by my friend Louise from this website. I can't tell you the name of it, because it's only 'known to locals' and is a 'local secret' according to Louise. I can tell you that it was great and yum though! Cheers Lou ;-)