BELFAST.

Wednesday, July 25.

On the bus. We will go here, and here, and here and………….,,,

Formerly the Scottish Provident Institution, now their equivalent of Centrelink.

Couple of lovely brick buildings.

Belfast’s equivelant of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The George Tower leans five feet to the right and five feet to the rear. Notice the angle compared to the building in the background. It was stabilised but they were unable to straighten it.

Customs House on the riverfront.

Large ceramic salmon, depicting the return of salmon to the river after 120 years absence.

This is why the salmon returned. As the river is tidal, the weir keeps the river at a constant level.

Downstream of the weir.

The two large gantry cranes are World Heritage listed. One Goliath, stands 320 feet high, and the other Samson, 285 feet high.

The Titanic museum.

Science museum.

George Best airport.

Front gates to parliament, known as Stormot.

Stormot. The perculiar thing about the Northern Ireland parliament is that they cannot agree on anything, so therefore have not sat for nineteen months, yet they all still receive their parliamentary pay and allowances. Could only happen in Ireland, although the same could be said for our politicians.

Parliament driveway.

Leafy suburbs around parliament.

Top end of Shankill road, the centre of the Unionists territory.

Flags are out due to it being the marching month.

Statue of C.S. Lewis, author of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Headed off for the Titanic experience. We have been here twice before, but it is still mind blowing each time.

A lot of if’s, if the ship wasn’t going so fast, if the captain hadn’t decided to swerve when he did, if they had had a key to the binoculars locker, if they had not been so far north, if, if, if.

Couple of suspect workers.

One of the front gates to the shipyards.

Interesting quotes.

Bottom of the dry dock.

Do I have to look down?

First class cabin.

Views inside the ship.

Some of the crockery from the ship.

One of the hatches of the Titanic lying on the seabed.

Dock from where Titanic was launched.

Across the road for a new experience. Free falling in a vertical wind tunnel. This was an unbelievable experience. More photos when we receive them.

Su flying.

Gaz flying.

Caught a cab into city centre to organise a black cab tour of Belfast. They take you where all the problems have occurred over the years and explain why.

The next two photos are of the court house. The wall around the court house is actually a blast wall. Twenty feet high and ten feet thick. Will even resist rocket attacks.

This quilted mural probably sums it all up.

These monuments and murals are all over the city, especially the east and west sides.

This is the catholic side of the wall.

This is the Protestant side of the wall.

They see it as the Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Note the height of the wall, 40 feet, and the secondary defences on the back of the houses. This house is only ten yards from the houses on the other side of the wall. Neither side wants the walls to come down and it is predicted that it will take another two to three generations.

Sinn Fein headquarters.

Bobby Sands, the first person to go on a hunger strike in gaol, eventually dying after five weeks.

These are one of the gates between the protestants and the Catholics. All the gates are closed at either nine or ten pm, and not opened again until nine the next day. On the weekends they remain closed. There were eight security cameras monitoring this gate alone, watched by the police 24/7. For obvious reasons we did not photograph them.

In Australia we think that it is all peaceful, far from it. There may not be bombings and shootings as in the past, but you do not venture into the others area. There is a distinct possibility that you will not return.

Another set of gates, locked.

These are all the men who stated themselves to death. Bobby Sands is bottom left.

Robert, our Irish catholic guide. He says that he avoided the hostilities as a young fellow due to from the age of 14, being an apprentice baker and therefore worked nights and slept during the day when most of the troubles occurred. This did not mean he escaped the mayhem. He was shot four times, in the back, shoulder and legs.

City offices lit up at night.

Off to TG Friday’s for a great dinner before heading back to Bess. Off to Scotland tomorrow.

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