They wanted to call them the “Belfast Bombers”
Belfast is lovely today. Coolish but not cold, and overcast but not raining. My hotel is great – kind of hip (with a large bar downstairs) but not over the top. And in a great location. Last night I wandered out to the university section for dinner.
This morning up a bit later than normal (8 am), and then off to explore. At Paula’s suggestion, I visited the linen hall library. They have a huge section devoted to northern Ireland political history. I found it appropriate to spend some time there reading my book “Ten Men Dead”, about the 1981 hunger strike. Paula, if you’re reading this, I also tried to visit Ruby Tuesday’s, but alas it has been replaced by another restaurant.
After that it was off to City Hall for a tour – we happened to be there when the Mayor-elect was coming in, so he said a quick hello to us. He was just elected mayor last night. He’s the first Lord Mayor to be elected to a second term since they instituted the new rules. The Lord Mayor is elected by the councilors, who are elected by the people, and they serve just one year as Lord Mayor (4 years as councilors), and cannot run in consecutive terms. The building itself is really ornate and gorgeous – it was damaged severely during the blitz in WWII, but only the great hall (the dome was unscathed). It’s a really cool building.
I then caught the bus tour around town – I did that last time, but this time I knew a bit more about what I was seeing, AND it made the trip out to Stormont, the Northern Ireland parliament building. That’s been in the news as of late – it was shut for a few years, but now a power sharing agreement has been reached, so I believe it will reopen soon. It’s also a good way to see the Falls Road and Shankhill road areas, which have the famous murals and the massive peace wall.
Late this afternoon I did my part to help the Belfast economy. Now it’s back to the hotel for a rest before I venture out to explore the botanic gardens in the evening. Tomorrow, on to Derry, where I will make my first attempt at driving on the left side of the road. Wish me luck!