BELFAST DAY TOUR
Take this tour, it’s amazing! After tasting the beauty of the land, the sights of Dublin and the pleasures of the pubs, we grabbed at the chance to travel to Belfast and connect first hand and oh so powerfully with the stories and places of the Troubles, (that continues to divide the country and its peoples.) It was a highlight of our three weeks in Ireland.
If you plan to go, aim for a tour lead by Jennifer – she has a wealth of knowledge (a degree in Irish history and archaeology, no less!) and shares the stories with just the right touch - beautifully balanced – plenty of detail, but not too heavy and never biased, nice humour and real connection and care for the people in her group (even gave up her free time break to sit with an ‘oldie’ who chose to stay back on the bus!). Seems she leads a variety of tours, so maybe ask for her at the Tourist Centre booking office.
The tour visited the Falls Road area, the heartland of the Catholic/Irish Republican Army’s struggle, we saw and touched the intensely powerful and moving murals on the wall that keeps one community seperate from the other – with gates still closed and locked each night; visited ‘the other side’, the Shankshill Road area, with the monuments and imagery of their fallen, and sensed the unresolved pain among local Protestant people; saw the very sites of the conflict – a part of Irish history that is so very recent, still real and still trying to work its way through.
Spent a 90minute break in Belfast, visiting the grand, old-world-elegant City Hall, the glass dome on top of the shopping mall that overlooks the whole of Belfast, and just soaked up the feel of the city’s streets and people: quite different to Dublin – it’s worth checking out!
Visited the shipyards where the Titanic was built – the now empty dry dock is another amazing connection with history – and the four story, purpose-built exhibition building of the ‘Titanic Experience’ - less interesting to me, and the two hour visit a bit long, but quite spectacular, and with free entry for the tour group.
A long day, people quite weary on the drive back to Dublin, but well worth it: highly recommended. Thanks James too for quality driving, willing engagement with the passengers, and own knowledge and experience as a leader - providing an extra dimension to the tour commentary.
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