After arriving in Belfast, Ireland, I automatically fell in love with the scenery and culture of Belfast. Right off the bat, our cab driver was super friendly, and had a witty sense of humor that made the trip to the hotel more enjoyable. Since I was up for almost 34 hours, all I had in mind was to fall asleep once I got to the hotel, but being in s different country, I had to walk around and see what Belfast had to offer. It was within a few minutes before I started to notice all of the art that was in the alleyways, buildings, and shops. I love seeing different styles of art, no matter what people may “consider” art, but art allows a person to express their feelings and beliefs, so it was awesome to see many portraits around the city.
The following day, we were able to get on the Bus Tour which took us through several parts of Belfast. Although it was quite windy sitting on top of the bus, the sites that we saw made up for it. It was a great way to get more background information of what the city has to offer, and to learn about Belfast. My favorite attraction had to be the “Parliament Building”. Right out front of the building lies a statue of Edward Carson. He was an Irish unionist who was a leader of the Irish Union Alliance in Ireland. Historian John Brown says that “His larger than life-size statue, erected in his own lifetime in front of the Northern Ireland parliament at Stormont, symbolizes the widely held perception that Northern Ireland is Carson’s creation.”
Today, we went on a Black Taxi Tour, which gave us a more in-depth look at northern Ireland. The tour guides were extremely friendly, had many stories to tell, and even shared with us the history behind both sides of the “Peace Wall”. This wall was put up to keep the Catholics and Protestants away from each other. It wasn’t until recent (aprox. 20 years ago.) that bombings, crimes and other mischievous acts came to an halt. From learning about the history of why Catholics and Protestants fought each other, it was very eye-opening, and surreal when we were standing at the same locations of where bombings took place and destroyed shops, homes and even took away lives of the innocent, especially while standing on Bombay Street where these occurrences happened. That being said, the whole experience was fantastic, and I am excited to continue to learn more about the history and culture that lays within Belfast.