Belfast, Northern Ireland
Many of you probably know that Northern Ireland is a
separate country from Ireland and is under British rule, while the rest of
Ireland, including Dublin, is a country in and of itself with its own currency,
laws, government, etc.
We have been looking forward to visiting Belfast, at the
mouth of the River Lagan and surrounded by hills. Peace has only been here for about 20 years.
We could see evidence of the havoc that was caused by the “troubles”. Now, with all of the changes that have come
about as a result of the 1996 Peace Accords, the city is bustling, healthy and
growing. Clearly we saw past signs of political and religious strife and of a city
that was divided. But, today it is clear
that a great deal of harmony exists and a great desire to expand on the
successes in the past 20 years.
We saw the beautiful Parliament House with its tree lined
entrance and parks and downtown Belfast which is a modern and growing city. Amazing mural walls throughout the city show
the feelings of the people about past strife, current politics, art, history
and just about any
topic of interest.
Part of the old “walls” diving Belfast are still present and are viewed
with mixed emotions by the people who live here. Some want them taken down while others want
them left as a remembrance.
Once downtown we walked to a beautiful mall with a glass
elevator that went up to an observation dome where we could see out across the
city to the rolling hills surrounding us.
The tourist trade is growing and now about 80 cruise ships a year dock
here, which was unheard of 20 years ago.
We shopped for Irish souvenirs and walked to the post
office, (one of our favorite places in foreign countries ;-) so Sharon could
mail some postcards home. We took a break at one the many Starbucks in the
One interesting thing about this trip is that virtually
every port has some type of relationship with the Titanic. It might be the Titanic was constructed in
one port, it picked up people in another port, it picked up mail in still
another port, it left
for France or the USA from yet another port. So many of the cities have monuments or
museums or tours about the Titanic experience.
Belfast was no different. There
is a “Titanic Memorial”, with a list of all those who perished on April 15,
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