On the tird day (third day) we left Dublin and the Republic of Ireland behind to head to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Belfast is, of course, famous for it’s history of sectarian violence between the Protestant and Catholic population. This is IRA (Irish Republican Army) & UDA (Ulster Defence Association) territory. The IRA and the UDA (among other groups) were at war with each other during a time the Irish call The Troubles. Luckily, now there is peace. Though there is still violence occasionally, and attitudes are still deeply partisan, Belfast is as safe or safer than any other large city in Europe and North America.
Belfast is also famous for shipbuilding. One ship in particular is the most famous ship to be built in Belfast … Titanic. Our group not only got to see beautiful modern Belfast, and historic partisan Belfast, but we also got to see the Titanic Museum. The museum is built on the very site where Titanic was built.
Pictures of Belfast:
As you can see, I’m using collages now instead of image galleries. This helps cut down on time, and my server load on the site. I’ll get some of my favorite shots, and moments up in full resolution after I get back to the US.
One thing we noticed right away while in Belfast is that there is definitely some tension, and anti-British sentiment in many parts. It’s mostly carried out in a way that would be similar to how some fanatical fans behave towards rival NFL team fans. There are still instances of violence though. While we were in Belfast, a new IRA faction was trying to teach a Protestant loyal to Britain a lesson. They shot him in the legs, but accidently severed an artery, and the man died. Tragic all around. Northern Ireland definitely has a different feel than the Republic of Ireland. However, everyone was super friendly towards us, and Americans are very popular in both countries.
Some sectarian propaganda murals: