Belfast, Northern Ireland
May 1–3, 2017
We left early in the morning to catch the ferry over to Belfast. We met a new bus and driver, but Conor continued as our guide. He gave us extensive commentary on the time of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. We drove around through the Catholic side and then past where a wall had been to tour the Protestant side. i won't attempt to sort out the centuries of background or the complexities of the politics of the twentieth century in this space. I probably shouldn't even mention my missing being blown up by an IRA bombing in the London Underground in 1976 by a few minutes. I have recently watched several relevant documentaries on PBS, and I commend them to you. I am proud that the United States and especially Senator George Mitchell and President Clinton had a major role in bringing about a peace that most people once thought impossible. The most obvious reference I saw to the Troubles was this tribute to Bobby Sands. Unfortunately following his death, there were other forms of revenge instead of children’s laughter.
We stopped by the campus of Queens University, a large research university with a long list of notable alumni.
After the tour our bus took us to our hotel in the heart of Belfast, just down the street from the Grand Opera House.
Across from the hotel is the Assembly Building of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. It now houses retail space and convention and conference facilities, as well as mainlining offices for church agencies.
The Belfast City Hall
We had free time to explore Belfast on foot, during which time I wandered around somewhat aimlessly and took pictures including those seven above. We spent the next day traveling around the northern coast, and those pictures will be posted on the next page. Before we left Belfast on Wednesday for Dublin, we had a tour of Titanic Belfast on the site where the Titanic and her sister ships were built. It appropriately celebrates the role that Belfast had in the construction of these ships as well the history of the city in the early twentieth century. The exhibition is quite extensive and well done, and the building is distinctive. I took a few pictures of the harbor from an upper window area.