Oct 15 2007

Reviewing Belfast

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 18:04

Looking through the pictures of our day in Belfast, I found a few to post that cover the brief impression we were able to get in such a short visit. Our tour bus guide talked to us about how many cab drivers were killed at one particular intersection where you had to turn to enter the segregated neighborhoods. He himself had been shot and stabbed on multiple occasions. Considering the length and violence of “the troubles” it is amazing they are where they are today in progressing toward peace.

But the difference between the world view of the two sides is as obvious as ever, and I suspect it will be some time before they even consider tearing down the walls that make up “the peace line” between them. Here are some sample murals from each side. First, the Unionist or Loyalist side. These are protestants, but religion was not the issue.

UFF Mural

UYM Mural

Even the graffiti is supportive of continuing the divisions.

Graffiti

And the Republican side is all about the independence of peoples from outside governments.

Republican Mural #1

Republican Mural #2

Republican Mural #3

Republican Mural #4

Republican Mural #5

Or, about people they see as martyrs.

Republican Mural #6

This one on Sinn Fein Headquarters.

Republican Mural #7, on Sinn Fein Headquarters

But the Unionist side has martyrs to match.

UVF Martyrs Mural #1

UVF Martyrs Mural #2

However, when you get away from the neighborhoods, the city has many pretty parts where you would never suspect the violence of the past. Some beautiful buildings for the government. National…

Government Building

And City…

City Hall #1

City Hall #2

And statues ranging from political realism to the more allegorical.

Statue of politician

Allegorical Political Statue

And some art that (at least on first look) doesn’t appear politically motivated, thrown in for good measure.

non Political Statue #1

non Political Statue #2

Some interesting highlights were the “leaning tower of Belfast”

leaning Tower

A shopping mall that must have started as something else. (the spire in the background is on an indoor shopping mall)

Churchy Mall

A beautiful river front.

River Front

We stayed in the Europa, at one time the most bombed hotel in the world (bombed forty some odd times during “the troubles”).

Europa Hotel

Rita got a kick out of the cabs, which look older than they are.

Taxi

Hopefully the peace will last and the tourist will continue to come. Maybe someday memories of “the troubles” will be found only in museums and not on the streets. In any case, it was an interesting visit.

Thanks for following along. I am going to try to post travel related pictures and plans here even when we are not on the road. See you soon. RKK

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