"Belfast" Belfast by kcrismier
Belfast Travel Guide: 1,088 reviews and 2,436 photos
Belfast is one of those cities where it's kind of hard to get a grip of what the city is all about. On the one hand, it's cosmopolitan and thoroughly modern, yet just under the veneer run many other currents, including poverty and of course, "The Troubles". I've visited Belfast several times, and lived there for 8 months in 2004, to the point where I no longer feel like a tourist there. Yet I still have a hard time understanding the place. I don't "get" the Troubles, as much as it's been explained to me by people on both sides of the struggle. It seems to me something that is perpetuated by certain factions on both sides because that's all they've ever known, and because they want to have something to fight about. Of course, being an outsider, I could be wrong, but the whole thing just seems drawn out and tired (and tiresome). I want to say "Get over it already", but I know it's not that easy. In many ways, it compares to the "black problem" in America, where many African Americans still end up as second class citizens because of our history of slavery. I sometimes want to say "get over it" to this problem as well, but again, it's not that easy.
All that being said, there is much to like about Belfast! The city center itself is easy to explore and offers a lot in the way of historical buildings and pubs and shopping. Harland & Wolfe ship yard is just outside the city center, where you can go and imagine the Titanic being built. The waterfront along the Lagan river is gradually being renewed, and it's now a nice area to enjoy. You can take a black taxi tour of the Troubles hot spots. And Belfast is a great gateway for many day trips to other parts of N. Ireland and the Republic.
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