Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast has many architecturally beautiful old churches and government buildings with Victorian and cosmopolitan elegance. Too many to record here, but one, Queen’s University built in 1841.


Belfast the capital of Northern Ireland since 1922 and the partition of Ireland, has a long and complex history of culture, politics, economics, religion and turbulence, going back hundreds of years. The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 brought an end to the NI conflict. Now what we see are the “Peace Walls”. The stated purpose of the peace lines is to minimize inter-communal violence between Catholics (most of whom are nationalists who self-identify as Irish) and Protestants (most of whom are unionists who self-identify as British).

It was all very confusing with long history lessons.  We zeroed in on the Crumlin Road Jail and the Titanic Museum. 

The jail was built in 1846 and closed 1996 and is now a museum and tourist attraction. The tunnel was used to take the prisoners under the street to the courthouse.  The jail was all cement and cold (not as bad as the Yuma Territorial Prison in our town!) and the Warden’s office was the only room in the whole prison with carpet. When a prisoner was sent to see the warden due to some misdeeds, it was said he was “called on the carpet.” Have you ever been “called on the carpet?”

“He who has never tasted jail

Lives well within the legal pale,

While he who’s served a heavy sentence

Renews the racket, not repentance.”
― Ogden Nash

The Titanic Museum displays a large amount of history and photos of its building and shipyard which was here in Belfast, even though the Main office of the Titanic was in Liverpool. There was quite a bit of walking throughout the museum without places to sit a while and the exit was not indicated well at all. Our stay was brief and I didn’t even pick up a souvenir as the line was much too long also. Other then that, it of course was interesting, but we pretty much knew most of it. I guess the movies of the sinking did a good job. But it was still sad to see the numbers: Total passengers on board 1316 + 913 Crew = 2229 Total passengers survived 498 + 215 Crew = 713.  Which leaves 818+698=1516 died.