After breakfast we checked out of the Jury’s Inn, leaving our luggage for collection later in the day. The city centre hotel had been a good choice with friendly, courteous staff, a modern, comfortable room and a large selection at breakfast.
It was then off to the eastern suburbs noted for ‘The Troubles’. We walked the length of both ‘The Falls’ and ‘Shankill Roads’ viewing large sections of the peace walls which were constructed from 1969. The walls were built to separate Irish Nationalists (Catholics) from their Unionist (Protestant) neighbours. The walls range in length from a few hundred yards to three miles and are constructed of iron, brick or steel, rising to 25 feet tall. At various places we noticed iron gates which were open to allow access but which can be closed at times of heightened tension. The walls are covered in brightly coloured paintings, slogans and flags.
The neighbourhoods seemed quite run down but we felt completely safe and were warmly welcomed in the small cafe we entered for warming mugs of coffee. One area notorious during ‘The Troubles’, Bogside has now been transformed into a nature reserve ‘Bog Meadows’ with well designed boardwalks and information boards.
Returning to the city centre for lunch, we headed to the Queen’s Quarter to find Bishop’s, a famous local fish and chip shop and restaurant. We dined in the restaurant and were served large portions of freshly cooked cod, chips and mushy peas, setting us up for our return home later that evening.
Our afternoon was spent shopping in the city centre before returning to the airport for our 7.00 pm flight home.
We were pleased that we had finally decided to visit Northern Ireland, and as my four posts on this blog describe, there was plenty to see and do during a long weekend break.
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