Belfast Day 2 Part 1

Continued from Belfast Day 1.

It’s sunny today!! View outside of our hotel window.

We don’t have too much planned for Belfast so we got a late start at around 1130am. It’s sunny, but it’s deceiving, with the wind it’s actually pretty cold in the low 50s or high 40s.

Belfast city hall up ahead.

As suggested by the Irish locals last night, we are going to take one of those open top sightseeing buses. Yeah really, that’s what they suggested, and it makes sense. Belfast is just big enough that many of the sights are not walkable from each other. I don’t want to have to drive through the quagmire of streets either, so sitting on to the top of a bus while being driven all over town sounds awesome.

We managed to get the last row, which ended up being pretty good spot. We could take photos both forward and backwards.

Supposedly, it leans 4 feet at the top.

The shipyard that constructed the Titanic.

Titanic museum.

They called this “The thing with the ring”.

Ohhh, weekend market. We’ll swing by this place after the tour for some lunch.

Yup, you could have bought this building.

With the open top, it’s getting really cold up here….really cold.

There are murals all over Belfast.

The giant’s face(laying on the back of his head) that inspired Gulliver’s Travels.

This one is obviously political and related to The Troubles.

Do you think they get all medieval on your ass in there?

Made a quick stop at Belfast Castle…it’s not really a castle though, just a castle looking residence.

So verdant.

Now, down the hill we go.

Supposedly, you can hike up to the nose of the giant up there(the piece of rock jutting out). Too bad we don’t have enough time today.

JB pulls a “I’ve spilled coffee but I am not going to say anything about it” move.

Heavily fortified police station here in Belfast.

This is the area for the Loyalists, who are for not seceding from UK.

Church with barricade still standing in front.

Old court house, now disused and run down. Someone had stolen the balance from the statue sitting on top.

Across from the courthouse is a jail, now a museum. There’s an underground passage that leads from the courthouse straight to the jail.

Much of the neighborhoods with all the conflict looks very much blue collar.

In the distance is the peace wall, it separates the two fighting neighborhoods. One side is Loyalist and Protestant, the other side is Nationalist and Catholic.

Peace wall, and the locked control gate. Even today, the two neighborhoods are still not integrated with each other.

Along the wall, there’s a lot of graffiti and murals.

I think this one is from when Bill Clinton visited back then, the tour guide said this face plaque was placed over his signature to protect it from getting written on.

Murals everywhere.

We are still obviously on the Loyalists side, since they revere the queen over here.

Memorials such as this are all over the place over here in West Belfast.

A gate that separates the two sides. I believe it still closes down at night to split the two neighborhoods.

On the side of the Nationalists, they love and support every cause that overcoming a controlling power.

Obviously, the job situation isn’t looking good great for the people in these neighborhoods.

Oh yeah, the Nationalists love supporting the war in Gaza over here. They are pro Palestine…but does that make them anti-semitics? Or are they merely pro Palestinians?

Yup, still lots of fortification left over from the fighting days.

The IRA memorial.

Mural for the 10 IRA members who went on a hunger strike and died. Incredible that they felt so strongly for their cause to die for it.

Bobby Sands, the first of the hunger strikers to die. Is it me, or does Bobby Sands not sound like a very Irish name?

You have all the violent history here, and then you’ve also got playgrounds like this right next to the violent past.

Another police station, with a fence to help protect it from rocket propelled grenades.

They’ve still got the riot police vehicles here.

Queens College in South Belfast.

A statue of some minister of some sort who was against integrating the two fighting sides. They’ve since(after he passed away) moved his statue next to the first school to be integrated as a “Fuck you” to him. Hah.

And that’s the end of our bus tour. Hour and a half of sitting and freezing on the top, but it was quite interesting and didn’t take much work. Cool.

To be continued at Belfast Day 2 Part 2.

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