News, Photos, Travel

Signs of “The Troubles”

March 27, 2014
Belfast

When you hear certain cities or countries mentioned, there are words immediately used to describe them which are conjured up by negative images of recent history. Columbia begets “drugs,” Nicaragua reminds people of the Sandinistas, North Korea possibly never recovering from Dennis Rodman.

Belfast’s recent history of unrest is known as “The Troubles.” To me, when innocent people are shot dead or blown up from bombings, using “The Troubles” seems a bit like calling the swine flu a “chest cold.” No matter which side of the conflict you are on.

But despite remaining undercurrents of conflict, Belfast is at peace now. And it is slowly becoming a hot tourist destination, at least in the UK. It’s one of the cheapest destinations, with the pound going a heck of a lot further than London.

I took a walking tour of West Belfast that focuses on the Catholic and Republican side in the Falls Road area. This area is now famous for its many political murals and memorials. The tour was conducted by a former IRA member who was in prison for over 13 years. It was fascinating to get the perspective from a side I hadn’t really gotten from what I recall reading and hearing in the news.

 

Falls Road Murals

Falls Road Murals

Falls Road Murals

Falls Road Murals

Falls Road Murals

Falls Road Murals

Falls Road Memorial

Falls Road Memorial

Garden of Remembrance

Garden of Remembrance

Sinn Fein Head Office

Sinn Fein Head Office

Falls Road Murals

Falls Road Murals

A short distance away is Shankill Road, where the Unionists and Loyalists are concentrated. Walking around the Shankill area, you see many Union Jacks as well as memorials and murals focused on their cause.

Shankill Road

Shankill Road

Colors of the Union Jack everywhere, even curbside.

Colors of the Union Jack everywhere, even curbside.

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

Shankill Road Mural

From listening to the guide to walking the streets, one gets the sense that despite the peace, there is still a strong undercurrent of conflict. Hopefully one that will remain peaceful.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Belfast Rising | The Nomadic Life March 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    […] highlights are City Hall (with free tours daily Mon-Sat), the political murals, the Titanic Quarter and museum, and St. George’s […]

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