Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Here's all you need to know about how fast Belfast is changing: the former jail and courthouse, so active during the height of the Troubles, are being redeveloped into condos, a hotel, and a casino. A church down the street from the jail is being turned into a mosque. The transformation of Belfast into a tourist destination over the past five or ten years is incredible.

The highlight of our trip was a two hour Black Taxi tour through the Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. Our driver Jimmy took us to see the wall murals depicting the struggle on both sides. After reading about the Troubles for years, it was very enlightening to go through these neighborhoods. It was a little depressing to see that the "Peace Walls" separating Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods are still being built when new homes are constructed. In Jimmy's opinion the walls will always be there.

Still, the change is undeniable. Jimmy said there's no going back now. The government is actually paying the communities five thousand pounds to paint over inflammatory murals. So in a few years, many of the murals we saw may be gone.

We're eager to come back to Belfast in a few years to see how the city continues to evolve. We're out in County Galway now and fly home tomorrow. This trip has just zipped by.

No comments: