Sunday, October 07, 2007

West Belfast

For anyone thinking of going to Ireland, you -must- take a tour of
west belfast. Most people go via "black taxi", but I walked it instead.

Along one strech of road about 3 miles
long, you can see many of the most important figures and locations of
"The Troubles" that supposedly came to and end a decade ago. The
surprising part, though, is that it's still very current and relevant
to what's happening in Belfast today.

For example, the first large building you come across is called the
Divis tower. In the early 80s, the military took over the top two
floors in order to spy on people passing between east and west
Belfast-- and it's still in use.

Also along the path are dozens of murals about both current Irish
affairs and things happening overseas. Belfastians are very politically
minded, and they're die-hard activists.

In front of the city cemetary, I ran into a few dozen locals who were
protesting conflicts in Africa that I'd never even heard of.

I also saw the Queen Victoria hospital, which according to my
guidebook is the best in the world at treating gunshot wounds. The
gates out front are quite cool- they are (intentionally) twisted like
a DNA helix.

No comments: