Our first morning here in Belfast we took a tour and absorbed the main message: Belfast is booming, and the days of the men in hoods and the violence is all gone. The same armored vehicles that used to prowl the streets can now be rented out for parties and prom rides. We toured first the Falls Road neighborhood, and viewed some of the hundreds of murals depicting the Republican side of the Troubles. Martyrs with guns, hunger strikers, grim and guant, and lots of fists and Irish flags in chains. Along the road was the Peace Wall, wire towering up high, separating the sides.
We drove up a little hill around a corner and we were in the Shankill neighborhood, the murals now glorified the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, Thomas Cromwell, and also had the requisite men in balaclavas toting automatic rifles. But these are now tourist attractions, people come from all over to gawk and take photos.
The best graffiti of all was the scrawl on yet another dividing wall ‘who has time for this shit?” Right on!