Touring Northern Ireland
This photo of Paddy Campbell's Tours is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The following day we drove on to Belfast via the Giant's Causeway, a peaceful break from all the historic bloodiness. Here we went on a black cab tour that took. Our guides and drivers gave us unbiased accounts of the history of the city's segregation and what it was and is like living here. They took us to Shankill road where red, white and blue flags strung across a field were flapping in the cold wind. The unnerving murals on the sides of the houses surrounding the empty field were staring us down. The painted snipers and balaclava-ed soldiers aiming rifles back at us, made us all feel a tad jumpy and when the wind picked up an empty beer can, we all let out a scream.
We drove past the International Peace Wall, drove through the wall's gates and stopped at Sinn Fein's HQ and Bombay street and also had a look at a catholic family's back yard. Their garden was covered by chicken mesh to protect them from petrol bombs thrown from the other side of the wall. Imagine your kids playing in a garden like that.
This photo of NI Black Taxi Tours is courtesy of TripAdvisor
After touring the two cities and seeing all that barbed wire segregation and violent murals and hearing about so much bloodshed and human losses, I couldn't imagine living in a place like that. Till we went to the pub that night. My friend and I ended up sitting in a booth with a catholic Northern Irish couple and their very English and protestant friend. There was no fighting or arguing at that table. Just a jolly good night with lots of beers and good conversation. The way it always should be.
Tir Na Nog Tours doesn't seem to exist anymore, but there are plenty of other backpacker tours out there. Try Shamrocker or Paddywagon.