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.
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)).
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:
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:
Statues of four other Mayors of Belfast took my eye:
Another very impressive Memorial statue:
Then the War Memorials:
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.
Must take a walk down and see who that statue is commemorating -
All in all, a wonderful day