Day 6, Sunday June 30th. Our WCBD News 2 Viewer Trip Continues….
Today was filled with many of the biggest highlights of our trip so far.
After having beautiful weather, as the natives told us, we have been very lucky, our luck ran out for awhile this morning as we went to visit the Titanic Belfast Museum, on the exact spot where she was built and launched. The museum is amazing, beginning with its architecture, to all of the interactive exhibits inside, detailing from start to finish the building, launching, and ultimately the sinking of the luxury liner. Obviously, it was a very moving and emotional experience as we were able to read detailed accounts of many of those who perished that early morning of April 15th, 1912, just 4 days into its journey from Southhampton to New York City.
It was then time to head to the famous St. George’s Market for a little lunch and retail therapy, as our tour director James likes to say! I know our group enjoyed the food and shopping.
Our final event of the day was a guided tour of Belfast with our local guide Myra, whose passion for her birthplace was infectious!
We made several stops, including the Northern Ireland Parliament building, complete with the exactly one mile road entrance, as well as The Queens University, well known and respected around the world as the Ivy League school of Ireland.
My favorite part of the tour was traveling the streets of East and West Belfast, dividing at one time the Protestants and Catholics in a conflict known as “The Troubles.”
In a nutshell, the key issue was the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Unionists/loyalists, who were mostly Protestants, wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists/republicans, who were mostly Catholics, wanted Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland.
We observed the “Peace Wall” which divided communities of different religions and political beliefs. We even stopped the bus and Myra encouraged us to sign the peace wall to show support for continued peace in this city where from the early 1960’s to 1998 tensions ran high, and many lives were lost in the conflict.
We now have learned so much about this beautiful city, as we now head from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland on Monday.
More photos to come tomorrow! Thanks for following along!