Northern Ireland (on cell phone): A Walking Tour in Belfast

Belfast City Hall

What does one do with little less than a day to spend in Belfast? A walking tour, of course!

Thank goodness the Belfast Tourism Office has a left luggage area, otherwise I’d have been dragging along a 30-pound duffle and carrying my pack through Republican Falls Road while trying to take photos.  They made it very easy to drop off, though dragging a bag up a small set of stairs in the middle of the place does tend to cause a wee bit of noise.

I met up with a walking tour group called Coiste, which is mostly staffed by former IRA members and/or prisoners.  I walked, feeling a wee bit lost because Google Maps does some weird things with roadways in N. Ire, over to the Falls Road area and met up with an “Old IRA” tour guide and an Aussie. We saw the numerous painted murals spread throughout the Republican side of Belfast, an IRA museum, a wall of remembrance, and a cemetery heavily laden with IRA members.

Let me be very clear on one thing and then we’ll just swoop into photos: I am not a supporter of the Republican party, nor am I supporter of the Unionist party. I’m an American and the only thing I have on the subject of a “free Ireland” is opinion. My opinion doesn’t matter. I don’t live there and therefore am ignorant to the entire situation and complexities that make up Northern Ireland.  I may delve a bit into it when I post my camera photos, but for now, we’ll just look at pictures.

Murals:

Mural along Falls Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Mural down Falls Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Murals down Falls Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Margaret Thatcher

Hunger Strike Mural, Belfast, Northern Ireland - Bobby Sands

History is Written by the Winner - Mural, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Mural on the side of a building, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Long Kesh Prison Hunger Strike Mural, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Joe McCann and James Connelly Mural - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ironically, I met Joe McCann’s widow at the cemetery we visited just a ways up the road from this mural

Mc Gurk's Bar Massacre Memorial Panel - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Memorials:
Falls Road - Remembrance Garden - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Garden of Remembrance - Falls Road - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Garden of Remembrance with mural - Falls Road - Belfast, Northern Ireland

IRA Memorial - Cemetery - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Cemetery:
Headstones on a green hill - Cemetery - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Cemetery - with Ulster red hand on headstone - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Cemetery with headstones - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Miscellaneous:
Sinn Fein office on Falls Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast Public Library, Carnegie Branch, Falls Road - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Inside an old workhouse, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Bullet marked building and iron fence - Falls Road - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Can you see the bullet marks?

A church on Falls Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland

My next post has me in Scotland spending time at lunch with a 70-year old woman along a seaside village before a 15-mile hike on the Knoydart Peninsula!

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2 comments

  1. Casey Coyle

    I had no idea they were so politically polarized. It’s like going to the deep South and still talking about the ‘Union.’ Did you get any cool prison tats from the group?

    • T Smithers

      Unfortunately, no prison tatts for this girl. There’s this job I have where it might be a bit frowned upon…

      But yes, certain sections are still quite polarized, though from what I saw, it wasn’t so much Catholic vs. Protestant as it used to be. They do still have quite a few “peace walls” up in Belfast, which is just so strange to see (at least, for me) in this day and age.

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