First Day in Belfast- By Courtney Kellogg
Yesterday was sadly our last day on the Shamrocker Bus Tour. We had to say goodbye to green scenery and hello to the city of Belfast. It was very hard for us to all get off the bus because we had fallen so in love with the countryside of Northern Ireland. It was nice to arrive in Belfast and have the rest of the night off. We had been so on the move lately that all of us needed time to rest!
The next morning we woke up and took a Black Taxi Tour. This tour explained the trials and hardships that the city has gone through. The guide gives both sides to a terrible civil war that happened between two different neighborhoods. We started on the Protestant community where we looked at various murals that depicted part of their past. Many British flags were hanging from doors and across streets. We learned about the bonfires that are built every year in resistance to a yearly Catholic march.
We then made our way over to the Peace Wall that separated the two neighborhoods. Words of peace and love were written all over the wall from visitors. There is still hope from the town that it soon will be torn down, but our guide said that there needs to be more time until that can actually happen. After the wall, we went over to the Catholic neighborhood where we learned about the people who had fallen in those terrible times. It was heartbreaking to hear about the stories and what numerous of people had gone through.
After our somber morning with the black cab tours, we headed over to the Belfast City Hall. Small exhibitions gave more information about the city and even included a section about those sad years of the civil war. The Reflection Room displayed testimonies of some of the people who had gone through those hard times.