Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ireland, Day 2

Free breakfast at the hotel
Set off for tour of the Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods of Belfast where much of The Troubles occurred
Stop first in the Falls Road neighborhood (predominantly Catholic and pro-Irish) - parking across the street from the Sinn Fein (or click headquarters)
Murals were a major part of the tour for both neighborhoods - here's some from the Fall Road area

The black taxi used to be one of the only means of getting around if you didn't have a car as there was no bus system

Bush is a prominent topic in these murals

Frederick Douglas spoke of the oppression of the Irish

The Irish also feel a kinship with the Palestinian movement
Next stop - Shankill Road (predominantly Protestant and pro-British) - to get to this area from Falls Road, you must cross a barricade. Amazingly, there are barricades between the two neighborhoods that have been there since around 1968. Since the easing of the troubles, some of the barricades are opened during the day. But, they are still all closed at night. Here are some examples of murals from Shankill:

The men pictured were part of the Ulster Volunteer Force - a paramilitary group in answer to the IRA

This mural is a reminder that both sides endured terrible tragedies due to The Troubles

British flags were everywhere throughout this neighborhood
Next, we set off to check out an exhibit at the Golden Thread Gallery that showed the history of The Troubles time period through pictures - Out of the Darkness
We had a very hard time finding this place as they did not give an address, just a poorly hand-drawn map
After seeing the exhibition, we were hungry so we consulted our handy guidebook. We found that one of the oldest pubs was nearby in a place called Pottinger's Entry. It was a very small alley type street that had lots of shopping on it (redevelopment). The pub is Morningstar Bar.
Then, we were off to see the Belfast City Hall.

MTH and I are sitting in the chairs for the mayor and other important people. Interestingly, the mayor is only in power for one year at the time. It switches from a Protestant to a Catholic and back.

Next we just walked around Belfast to see the sights. Here MTH is posing with a large wire sculpture.

Here's our hotel in Belfast. It was across from the square with the City Hall.

That night we went to Deane's Restaurant. It was quite good. Upscale Irish food. Then, we headed to Fibber McGee's for some real Irish music. It was quite fun. Plus, MTH got mistaken as an Irishman. I think he though he was cool.

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