This grand structure's 173-foot-tall, green copper dome dominates the city center. To get the full story, it's important to visit the working-class neighborhoods of both sides: the Shankill Road and Sandy Row areas (Protestant) and the Falls Road district (Catholic). We took a tour bus ride around the city, because it is only in the sectarian neighborhoods that you see what makes Belfast unique. ( Log Out /  Sectarian Belfast. But she'd be amazed by the changes since then. Belfast is a very historic city, dating back at least 1000 years. This article will outline about the main areas of the Republican (Nationalist) and Loyalist (Unionist) communities in Belfast and common safety advice which should be observed when visiting them. One of many political murals in the sectarian Falls Road (Catholic) neighborhood. The first time I came to the cities of Belfast and Derry to learn more about The Troubles and to see the sectarian areas and the peace wall in Belfast and the Bogside area in Derry, I was moved and troubled and passionately compelled to learn more. Suzie Lee’s Love of Ghost Stories and Good Food, Kevie Kawasaki’s Deep Consciousness and Sense of Place, Adam Gerken’s Keen Political Analyses and Problem-Solving Skills, Jazmin Fontenot’s Passion for Nature and Civil Rights, Follow Ireland in Context on WordPress.com, Bibeanna: Memories from a Corner of Ireland, Díseart Centre of Irish Spirituality and Culture, Bogside Artists of Derry, Northern Ireland, Center for Irish Programs at Boston College, Conflict and Politics in Northern Ireland, History and Heritage of the Blasket Islands, Music & Entertainment Industries Studies Department. But it's no longer dangerous here. But they are now totally integrated in the workplace — and they all root for the Belfast Giants hockey team together. In Belfast, the memory of the Troubles is kept alive through sectarian street murals and a large wall dividing the historically Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods from one another. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Belfast was bombed by the Germans in World War II, and, with the Troubles killing the economy at the end of the 20th century, for decades afterward, little was built. This sometimes 'silent majority' returned a resounding 74% "yes" vote in the Belfast Agreement referendum, which technically removed the old Dublin rule versus London rule issue. It feels like a new morning in Belfast. And visitors can venture into the sectarian neighborhoods (Catholic and Protestant) — with their political murals and politicized cemeteries — kept apart by the poignant “peace wall.” But a hard Border it will be and Ireland will be more effectively partitioned than at any time in its history. To me, they're best seen with a private taxi tour. This means that the people of Northern Ireland alone now control their future, and if there is to be a United Ireland in the future, and a break from British rule, it must be decided by another such referendum. neighborhoods and interface zones of Belfast, for the purpose of comparing such marches with those of Belfast Pride. Once serving as peace-keeping measures, they are now, in a post-Good Friday Agreement Northern Ireland, popular tourist locations. At first sight, it was a picture of prim, … The city is traditionally divided into four main areas based on the cardinal points of a compass, each of which form the basis of constituencies for general elections: North Belfast, East Belfast, South Belfast, and West Belfast. Belfast’s Ulster Museum tells the city’s fascinating story well. The pieces are disquieting, to say the least. Across the River Lagan, east of the center, the historic Titanic Quarter — the former shipbuilding district now filled with museums, entertainment, and posh condos — symbolizes the rise of Belfast. Its worthwhile Belfast History and Culture exhibit does an especially good job covering the city's industry, its World War II bombings, and the Troubles. Though somewhat confined to the past, sectarian and political divide is something that has been associated with Belfast for many years. Relations between Belfast's sectarian neighborhoods remain strained, however. The next day at Milltown Cemetery, I walked through the green-trimmed gravesites of his prison-mates — some of whom starved themselves to death for the cause of Irish independence. But it turned out things were just getting started. To study the changing nature of violence since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in Northern Ireland, we used a qualitative approach and the Constant Comparative Method to analyze focus group discussions with mothers from segregated Belfast neighborhoods. Explore the sectarian neighborhoods of Belfast with a local guide who can offer insights and commentary on the area’s political murals. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The various sectarian neighborhoods of Belfast remain divided, and murals on buildings make the political loyalties of the inhabitants of an area very clear. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The peace lines or peace walls are a series of border barriers in Northern Ireland that separate Irish nationalist and unionist neighbourhoods. Relations between Belfast’s sectarian neighborhoods remain strained, however. Now, here’s is where Rick and I do agree. The Linen Quarter is the area south of Belfast City Hall, which was once the home of the White Linen Hall. To supplement my observations, I examined several hours of amateur video footage posted on YouTube of both Belfast Pride and sectarian parades, recorded in 2015 and 2016. To me, they're best seen with a private taxi tour. Belfast, Northern Ireland's capital city, is perhaps best known for the sectarian strife that took place here during the era of the "Troubles," and as the birthplace of the Titanic (and many other ships that didn't sink). Belfast rioters gather ammunition in the 1920s. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. At the heart of town is another impressive landmark: Belfast's City Hall. The creation of an exterior barrier will have a knock-on effect on the existing internal walls and, worryingly, it seems like May and her cabinet have no idea about the nature or extent of those divisions. Participants differentiated between nonsectarian and sectarian violence; the latter was further distinguished into two dimensions – overt acts and intergroup threat. This is a short introduction into the history of civil strife in Belfast. Belfast, divided in the name of peace To get the full story, it's important to visit the working-class neighborhoods of both sides: the Shankill Road and Sandy Row areas (Protestant) and the Falls Road district (Catholic). Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Change ). Self-segregation is a continuing process, despite the … Aggressive sectarian murals are slowly being repainted with scenes celebrating heritage…less carnage, more culture. In Belfast, the 1970s were a time of rising residential segregation. The stated purpose of the peace lines is to minimise inter-communal violence between Catholics (most of whom are nationalists who self-identify as Irish) and Protestants (most of whom are unionists who self-identify as British). Answer 1 of 10: My husband and I are interested in learning more about The Troubles when we're in Belfast in late September. Today, the farmers are gone and everyone else, it seems, has moved in. On my latest trip, rainy weather led me to a Belfast gem I'd never explored before: St. George's Market. The barrier in the background is a peace wall separating them from the Catholic Short Strand neighborhood, east Belfast, ... but sectarian violence continued for many years. He introduced me to Belfast's "Felons Club," run by former IRA prisoners. Some have gates in them (sometimes staffed by police) that allow passage during daylight but are closed at night. This was once the largest covered produce market in Ireland, filled with merchants selling butchered meat and fish. The neighborhoods are tricky to walk and some of the murals will be difficult to find if you don’t know where to look. Rick recommends a black cab tour and I concur. Over the centuries of usage, the Celtic name 'Béal Feirsde' has evolved into the word 'Belfast' that we know today. The Belfast murals tell a very two very different stories about the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland and the sacrifices made by those involved. The riot has played a significant role in Irish history and nowhere more than in the northern city of Belfast. A recent stroll down Cantrell Close, a tiny T-shaped cul-de-sac, did not make this instantly obvious. It’s not an easy thing to wrap your head or your heart around – students are grappling with the key issues, events and people. Every weekend, St. George's Market becomes a colorful artisan, crafts, and flea market with a few fish and produce stalls to round things out. Concentrated in sectarian neighborhoods, these works of art make it clear where Northern Ireland’s political and religious boundaries lie. With a diverse array of street food and homemade goodies added to the mix, it's a fun place for lunch and people-watching. Belfast is a city with a complicated history, which truth-be-told, left us with more questions than it answered. Relations between Belfast's sectarian neighborhoods remain strained, however. In fact, it would be a good idea for them to join one of those tours. In recent articles on the Irish Story, Brian Hanley has looked the effects of the 1935 Belfast riots on southern Ireland. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | While these two claims to fame aren't too uplifting, Belfast's story is hardly a downer. The easiest way to get a dose of the Unionist/Protestant side is to walk Sandy Row, the namesake street of Belfast's oldest residential neighborhood. Subsequently, a qualitative con- To me, they're best seen with a private taxi tour. Six stories tall, the striking museum is clad with more than 3,000 sun-reflecting aluminum panels. Relations between Belfast's sectarian neighborhoods remain strained, however. However, other types of crime (i.e., nonsectarian) also impact community members. Stop at a Unionist memorabilia shop or pub and ask a local to explain the Unionist symbolism that fills colorful murals here. While Belfast has the rough edges of any industrial big city, you have to look for trouble to find it. The Titanic was built here. Wall Mural, Shankill Road, Belfast. Gone are the military checkpoints and the armed soldiers. Hearing heroic stories of Irish resistance while sharing a Guinness with a celebrity felon gave me an affinity for their struggles. To get the full story, it's important to visit the working-class neighborhoods of both sides: the Shankill Road and Sandy Row areas (Protestant) and the Falls Road district (Catholic). Belfast is a small city, but it’s demarcated by almost 100 ‘peace walls’ that separate Catholic and Protestant areas. Photo by Pastor Sam (CC BY 3.0) Ten months later, the army put up a second iron wall between two neighborhoods in north Belfast, again insisting that it was just a temporary measure. By John Dorney. The city is bristling with cranes and busy with tourists. Analyses were conducted using the Constant Comparative Method to illuminate thematic patterns in focus groups with Catholic and Protestant mothers from segregated Belfast neighborhoods. On my evening train back to Dublin, I gazed at the peaceful, lush Irish countryside while pondering the charming resilience of Belfast's people. Its few hundred Jews remain an uncommon people. Towb’s encounter took place in the 1930s, but Belfast’s current Jewish residents cannot avoid the city’s social divisions either. But with peace in 1998 — and government investing to subsidize that peace — the 21st century has been one big building boom. City Hall faces the commercial hub of Belfast, Donegall Place. Terms of Service | Privacy. I've read about taking either two walking tours of the neighborhoods, i.e. A visit here offers a chance to balance your Irish vacation — and witness a city's powerful rebound. The subdivisions of Belfast are a series of divisions of Belfast, Northern Ireland that are used for a variety of cultural, electoral, planning and residential purposes.. These days, Unionists (those who feel they're primarily British; most are Protestant) and Nationalists (those who feel they're Irish first; most Catholic) still typically live in segregated zones. The first mention of the word 'Belfast' was in AD 666, when a battle was recorded at the site of 'Béal Feirsde' ("approach to the sandbank ford"). The peace lines range in length from a few hundred yards to over three miles (5 km). Belfast, once nicknamed “Linenopolis”, was the world leader in the production of linen in the 19th century. They may be made of iron, brick, and/or steel and are up to 25 feet (7.6 m) high. We'll scramble over some six-sided geology, tee off on a world-class golf course, and stomp our feet to some traditional music. Inside, the tale of the famous cruise liner is told with creative displays — beginning with a short gondola ride through shipbuilding vignettes. (photo: Rick Steves) Wandering through cheery downtown modern-day Belfast, it's hard to believe that the bright and bustling pedestrian center had been a subdued, traffic-free security zone not long ago. ( Log Out /  ( Log Out /  It was estimated in 2004 that 92.5% of public housing in Northern Ireland was divided along religious lines, with the figure rising to 98% in Belfast. Explore the sectarian neighborhoods of Belfast with a local guide who can offer insights and commentary on the area's political murals. Queen Victoria would recognize the fine 19th-century brick buildings here — built in the Scottish Baronial style when the Scots dominated Belfast. Here are a few photos I took yesterday, and am looking forward to being with students on the Black Taxi Cab Tours with Paddy Campbell, tomorrow. There may not be open violence now, but the conflict has not been forgotten. see our FAQ. Relations between Belfast's sectarian neighborhoods remain strained, however. Today you can enjoy the architecture of the old linen mills which house a mix of offices, chic bars and award-winning restaurants. Belfast Peace Walls. Even today, glaring reminders of the divisions still remain. My time with them is always the most interesting 90 minutes of any visit to Belfast. (photo: Jessica Shaw) Belfast's City Hall is a polished and majestic celebration of Victorian-era pride built with industrial wealth. 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