I woke up today without a towel and spent 3 hours running around the city in the rain, in my flip flops, looking for one.I was directed to Primark (a Ross DFL type of store) and then headed for breakfast for my 4th traditional English breakfast of 1 fried egg, 2 sausages, 1 soda bread, baked beans, and tea. Do you know an egg is not considered meat here? Vegetarians will still eat egg and if not, they are considered Vegan.
I decided to take the double decker £10 bus tour throughout Belfast http://www.city-sightseeing.com/, with hesitation I must say. I’m not one for the tourist trap, but honestly I needed direction at this point. My arrival on the bus was meant to be, you see I bought my ticket and was given a lift to the central pick up point, only to find out the bus I was already on would be the next bus to board and I had better find an awesome spot.
Where else but the top and at the front!
The was the most AMAZING tour I had taken. Or maybe it is I am truly interested in Belfast’s history of conflict.
First we explored the ship yard, heard about the Titanic and her sister ships. the people of Belfast are proud of the Titanic and and adamant that is was fine when if left dry dock and are also quick to point out she had an English Capt., a Scottish navigator, and a Canadian ice burg all around her. There was also a movie being shot around the ship yard, I was unable to use my research abilities for find the who/what/where/for how long details.
We then entered Shankill Road. The epicenter of the Irish troubles.
The street, same as it is, is lined with multiple murals. The area, it’s self is split between loyalists/protestants/Orangemen who pledge allegiance to England and want to stay as a part of the UK and republicans/catholics who want an united Ireland. It is not a largely religious issue, it’s a cultural issue and it’s evident as you drive through the neighborhoods. Loyalists fly the Union Jack only and the Republicans fly the Irish flag and only the Irish flag.
check out the murals we passed.
A tribute to Bobby Sands, the first person to die from a hunger strike by the Republican supporters.
Along Shankill Road.
A consistently changing mural addressing all and any conflicts and national ideas.
Deep Thought: I had the Irish conflict all wrong. I was wholey focused on the religious issue, with the understanding of something additional may be a in play as well. I just wonder where this devotion to England comes from? Is it a lot like during the Revolutionary War and many families were loyal to Britian rather then the country’s independence. I just can’t see myself living so far from a governing body and wanting to stay under the rules and authority of the party.
I think my hostel is in a Loyalist area. There are Union Jacks EVERYWHERE flying from light posts and across streets.
Lastly I went to Belfast Exposed.
I really can’t say much about the gallery. It was nice. I couldn’t see any of the pictures hanging from the wall…the concept was crowded streets of Belfast under a red light, hence the Red Light District.
I left in 15min.
My last night I was hoping for one more night of an Irish Pub, but no luck! My Belfast connection didn’t return my call and it was for the better. I had to get up at 5am the next morning anyway. But still.