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2019 A Story of Ireland

It was a very sad day when we docked in Belfast as it was the day of the funeral of murdered Journalist Lyra McKee. It is to be hoped that, if this murder brings together all sides of Politics in Northern Island, her death will not have been in vain.

The World's Press start to congregate for the Funeral of Lyra McKee (taken from the coach)

As we'd never been to Belfast before we decided to do an organised excursion, albeit just a coach tour of the City with a couple of stops. What a revelation! Having lived through seeing news of the "Troubles" it had never crossed my mind that they were taking place in such a beautiful city. One just heard about Shankill Road, Falls Road and Crumlin Jail etc. but it's so much more than this. Our guide was a lady who had lived through the troubles as a child onwards and gave us little snippets of what it was like to live there then, eg. If her parents were going somewhere and had to leave the car for a while, they took the kids and left them in the car so it was obvious to the Security Forces that it didn't contain a bomb. Also, when the troubles were over, walking into a store where there was a man standing in the doorway and automatically opening her handbag. Both looked at each other sheepishly when it struck them that those days were over. She obviously loved her City AND she was so good that we never found out which side of the Religious divide she was!

Interesting to start with a sight of a Harland & Wolff crane. Titanic, lots about that on this cruise.

Anyway, we did see the Shankill Road, Falls Road etc. and it was interesting to see the Political Murals (these are now mainly a tourist attraction, Thank God, but they are an important part of Northern Ireland's history and should not, in my opinion, be destroyed. The following were taken from the coach (so not wonderful)).

Some Political Murals in Belfast

There were only two (photo) stops, as we don't do tours involving too much walking now, but they were both excellent.

Firstly, the extremely attractive City Hall. Edna stayed by the coach while I had a walk around and took a few pictures of the statues etc., including Queen Victoria, who dominates the front of the building:

Queen Victoria in front of City Hall. The memorial to the right of Queen Victoria is to James Magennis VC, the only Northern Ireland recipient of the VC.

The Titanic Memorial is, probably, the next port of call:

Not easy to get a decent picture of the list of the dead but the beautiful memorial statue (by Sir Thomas Brock) was easier:

Titanic Memorial Statue (left) and Sir Edward Harland (head of Harland & Wolff and Mayor of Belfast)

Statues of four other Mayors of Belfast took my eye:

James Horner Haslett, William James Pirrie, Sir Daniel Dixon and Robert James McMordie

Another very impressive Memorial statue:

Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st. Marquess of Dufferin, Governor General of Canada and Viceroy of India

Then the War Memorials:

The Memorial to the Boer War and the Northern Ireland Cenotaph

It can't get any better than Belfast City Hall. Yes, it can! Next stop was Stormont, wow! Our Courier made a jocular (we thought) remark about the Northern Ireland Politicians being the laziest in the World. We all laughed because everybody thinks their own Politicians are the laziest in the World! But, hang on, the Northern Ireland Politicians aren't even governing, they can't agree enough to even sit down and govern! Perhaps she was right. If my office was at Stormont (when I worked that is) I would have gone to work everyday with a spring in my step.

Arriving, at and leaving Stormont, magic.

Must take a walk down and see who that statue is commemorating -

Sir Edward Carson QC, a commited Unionist who defended the Marquess of Queensbury against Oscar Wilde. Not a plus point!

All in all, a wonderful day

Copyright © 2004 - 2019 Terry Smith