I am a first generation Canadian and went to Belfast with my first-generation Italian friend, Joe. My Mum and Dad are no longer with me, so I wanted to go back to where they grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. THE last time I was there was in the early 70’s as a child.
It was so nice to catch up with my two cousins Rebecca and Andrew and their extended family. A police officer friend of the family took us on a personal tour around Belfast. We were so impressed with what he does for a living! He is in a gang riot police unit driving in a bomb in a bulletproof vehicle. He stated that the troubles between Catholics and Protestants is quiet now compared to the violence of the 70’s and 80's Wow, the stories he must have!
We took a political tour with a Catholic car driver. It was so interesting! We toured the Catholic areas, that is, the areas where people in Ireland from an independent country lived. Things looked normal, people living in cozy Irish communities. But, driving through some large Protestant areas, that is areas where people loyal to the British Crown lived, were much different. In some areas we drove through large gates which close 7pm and open 7am. Many are fenced off with large walls blocking out the outside world. We stopped at the large and decorated Peace Wall and really felt the isolation and turmoil of days gone by. Pete and I wrote our names on the wall along side the many millions who signed before us! In FACT, the Peace wall separating the Falls and Shankill roads contains some of the brightest artwork found in Belfast and forms part of the city mural tour. Murals consisted mainly of world countries struggling with cultural and religious differences!
We hired a taxi tour to see where my father was born and raised. The house is gone, replaced by an apartment building. It was a couple of blocks where Van Morison grew up. We took pictures outside his birth home and the Catholic taxi driver took us to the large street concert he put on for his 70 birthday a couple years ago! It was in front of a beautiful, old protestant church! He pointed this out on YouTube . I mentioned, we had a Catholic taxi driver because Van Morrison played his concert in front of a protestant church. While we were there, a couple of nice practitioners came out to visit and invited us in for a church tour. I asked our taxi driver to join us, but he declined the invite. Also, both sides did not want to shake hands with each other when we said our goodbye’s. Sad for us to see something like that. I think religion should stay out politics stop promoting hatred amongst people.
As a result of the troubles in Northern Ireland from 1970 to 2022, Northern Ireland is losing growth in their part of the country. For instance, during a 52-year span, growth in Dublin in 1970 was 771,000 total people vs 1,256,00 today [approx. 485,000 increases]. Population in Belfast 1970 was 417,000 and today 639,000[approx. 222,000 increases]. Northern Ireland has been missing out on a lot of growth potential…, why would any big company invest? Even with the 1998 Good Friday Peace agreement regarding all political parties, (good Friday agreement) , people have to let go of the past .Protestants kept Catholics from voting in the early stages due to strict home ownership policies,(hearsay that you did not vote by a person, you got to vote by the homes you owned, so for instance if you owned votes home you get six votes and the Protestants own most of the homes) now is that fair? As a result, in total political Protestant control.
Religion must stay away from government, politics, which may promote hatred and isolation. I believe that God DOES NOT promote hatred and disharmony. We are one people, striving for happy lives. Hopefully the walls come down in 2023 and I hope to be there to witness the big event! Hoping that Northern Ireland will be open for business…. Let go of the past and good things will happen! Check out Wikipedia the troubles.
War Queens and Kings of Ireland remove all walls 2023 Youtube Every year, Protestants only hold a parade, parties and bonfires to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne, July 11/12th 1690 It began in the late 17th century, it is a night celebrating the start of the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland. I believe this event should stop because it promotes separation and isolation between both religions. Wikipedia the 12th
Prayers for peace, love and happiness we are all one, we are all the same, just lose what happened over 300 years ago.
I think this will be my last blog, story.
This is my view not yours Pete Montgomery, from WorldTripPete.com
Bus tour of Northern Ireland and the Titanic Museum.. Worth watching this YouTube about the Titanic This is the best of the Belfast segment of the Ireland & Emerald Isle episode of DIY Destinations, in this clip the host Charles Huang decided to visit Titanic Belfast, 12,000 square meters interactive museum dedicated the famous ocean liner RMS Titanic on the former Harland & Wolff shipyard. We'll showcase all the galleries and highlight from this museum and the ride, as well a visit on board the SS Nomadic, the only surviving White Star Line vessel in existence today Wikipedia SS Nomadic Joe wrote on Facebook Visiting history of the Titanic was awesome!…It was designed and built in Belfast by the former White Star Line on the very place where the museum now stands!…Museum takes you through the many stages from city history during the time , the build and builders,launch,passengers n crew,iceberg tragedy, rescue and James Cameron videos on the historic finding of the ship!…Just outside the museum lies the former White Star design offices and the marked foundation of the actual building site!…It was constructed to be the dream ship that was supposed to be unsinkable??? Another post on fb by Joe. Now in Belfast,Northern Ireland…
Wow! Lots to learn and see…Many people don’t know that Ireland has two languages ,English and a totally different Irish language….As well,Ireland consists of two countries; the Republic of Ireland in the south and The British rule island to the north. Joe Forzani and I started our tour on a Hop On Hop Off bus in the morning and then took a separate political tour with guide Henry in the afternoon.Wow! We learned so much to put in my next blog when we get home. Much to learn about the struggles of life in Northern Ireland. Catholics,who are striving for Irish Independence and Protestants,governed by the British Rule,each living in their separate communities around the city!
Sooo interesting to talk with local residents and hear their stories about the hardships of 2 different beliefs in a single country!
And,now on to the Titanic Museum!!!
We did a bus tour of Northern Ireland called the “Causeway Coastal Route” from Belfast to Portrush. We stopped at Whitehead, Ballygally, Cushendall, Murlough Bay, Whitepark Bay, and Giant’s Causeway. On the way there, Joe was telling me that the giant’s built it 50 million years ago? NOT!!! It was the same person who preached that if a race horse ear is up, the horse will win the race NOT!!!Here is the truth about the Giants Causeway Wikipedia Giant Causeway. We also stopped in Bushmills Distillery, the oldest distillery in the world, opened in 1608! Wikipedia oldest distillery in the world.
We also did the “Hop on Hop off Bus Tour, Belfast,” We started at Belfast City Hall, then on to St Georges Market, Grand Opera House, Queens University, Falls Road, International Peace Wall, Wall Murals and the Crumlin Road Jail. I have no idea why Joe was so attracted old Jails in Dublin and Belfast? Hmm, just maybe in his past life he was hardened jail bird…lol
The first three days we were in Dublin.
Joe and I stayed in Temple Bar, Dublin the first three days we arrived in Ireland.
We flew West Jet to Dublin and stayed in the main tourist area called Temple Bar. I posted me at one of the local pubs with a couple of Hells Angels bikers from Vancouver, Canada, I could not believe the response I got from the pictures. Lots thumbs up and bikers were great! I liked them and I learned not to judge people by the way they look! BTW, I handled them with ease lol! I must say that all the local Irish tour guides s, sales clerks, servers, policeman, cab drivers, hotel management and the general public were extremely courteous in helping fine our destinations! Very impressed!!!
Temple Bar is the main tourist area in Dublin, with loads of restaurants, pubs and hotels located on old cobblestone narrow streets. Many locals and tourists strolling along and dropping into colorful pubs listening to favorite Irish ballads and songs. Joe and I sipped many Guinness and Irish Lagers to go with the yummy Irish stews and tasty Fish n Chips! Our hotel, located in the heart of Temple Bar, was only a short walking distance to everything including McDonalds for breakfast!
We took the Hop on hop off Dublin bus a couple times. Samuel Beckett Bridge, City Hall, Dublin Castle, Glasnevin Cemetery, Henry Shopping Street & The Spire, St Stephen's Green, Trinity College Book of Kells, Old Library Exhibition, Mummies of Michan’s Church, Richmond Barracks, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Teeling Whiskey Distillery, The Guinness Factory, Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Goal Prison again Joe had to tour the prison on his own.
Joe's Facebook post about Dublin Two days in Dublin so far, wow, what city (Religion and Alcohol!) …We are staying in the trendy area called Temple Bar, full of Irish pubs n restaurants Today we took an open seat Hop on Hop off sightseeing bus tour of the city! We learned a lot!!!
Confused when they talk about churches, drinking Guinness and Irish whiskey in this city? They say that 10 million Guinness a day are consumed and the population of Ireland is just over 5 million (That’s 2 glasses of Guinness per person per day…Wow!!!) The part I missed is that maybe they talking about world consumption, and not just Ireland?
Tomorrow’s visit is St Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse and Teeling whiskey tours!
Love Peace and Happiness, God loves all his creation all religions.
This is my view not yours Pete Montgomery, from WorldTripPete.com