Belfast Black Taxi Tour took us into the Protestant neighborhood of Shankill Road where murals depicted their side of the violent conflict. I’m not sure if they view themselves as English or Scot, as they are the descendants of the Scots who settled in Belfast. But, they are without question, loyal to the Crown. Our driver, who is Protestant, did present both sides. It was obvious that it was the civilians who suffered through a war zone. There is a wall, yes a wall, that separates the Protestant neighborhood of Shankill Road from the Catholic neighborhood of Bombay Road. The wall, called the Peace Wall, has 2 gates, one Protestant, the other Catholic. The gates are on a timer. They open every morning and close every night to separate the 2 neighborhoods. The Wall facing the Protestant side is decorated with murals & signatures by the famous and the ordinary. Even though Northern Ireland has been at “Peace” since 1998, there is a sense it is a delicate peace. What is even more curious is that the Protestants identify with Israel and the Catholics with the Palestinians. Nothing good comes out of oppression.
The shipyard that built the Titantic is now the site of the Titantic Museum. Well worth the 3 hours we spent there. Displaying the Industrial Revolution that transformed Belfast along side of the building of the Titanic provided a visual sense of Belfast as a turn of the century urban center.
Besides being the site of the Titantic Museum, the former shipyard is also a film studio. While we were there the filming of the last season of the Game of Thrones was in production. CLOSED SET EVERYBODY! But we did get a picture of the stars trailers and a car with the plates ending in GOT.
On our way back to the hotel, a quick swing to The Storm, Northern Ireland’s Parliament building. Currently, Northern Ireland doesn’t have a sitting government, but it does have beautiful grounds. Finally, a quick visit to the Crown Pub, owned by an Irishman who has an emblem of the Crown on his threshold so that his patrons can walk on “The Crown”.
Heading to Dublin Tomorrow.