Anyway, our first day in Belfast was last Sunday and we took a tour through the Titanic museum when we arrived there. For those of you who didn't know, the Titanic was fully constructed in Belfast - the museum today is located on the exact location where construction occurred. It was amazing going through the museum and also heartbreaking since so many people died. The part that had the greatest impact on me was the telegraph messages that were sent sent back and forth before and during the sinking of the Titanic. I was amazed that the captain of the Titanic basically ignored the warnings about the ice. The story of the Titanic is a huge statement on the pride of man, but at least after the Titanic sunk boat companies were required to meet certain specifications for safety purposes in the future (like providing enough lifeboats, which you think should have been common sense).
The second day in Belfast our whole group got to listen to two men from Fitzroy Presbyterian Church talk about how they are trying to minister to both Catholics and Protestant to promote peace in the city of Belfast. One of the men, Steve, is trying to minister through an emphasis on the arts and wrote a book about the spirituality of U2 and their songs. Listening to him was absolutely fascinating! At one point he said, "You can listen to Christian rock music, but never for very long," which made our whole class laugh. It is very true that a lot of Christian rock sounds exactly the same, and Steve wanted to make people realize that bands could be sharing the word of Christ through other genres, like rock and roll.
Lastly, we took a black taxi cab tour through the city of Belfast and we got to listen to each of our cab drivers give us information on the city and the violence that has occurred. I'm not going to lie, it was a pretty miserable tour especially since it was freezing outside (and raining) and we were learning about a lot of depressing things. We stopped to see a "peace" wall that was built to keep Catholics and Protestants apart, mostly because the violence between the two groups was so high in the early 1900s and afterwards. It's essentially like the Berlin Wall, except that it probably won't be torn down any time soon. In fact, the gates that lead to each side still get locked every single night... on the wall there is a lot of graffiti and many people sign it. My group had the chance to and most of us either signed our names or left brief messages.
By the time the tour ended our whole group was exhausted and depressed, which made for a grumpy ride back to the hotel. After grabbing dinner I hung out with my two closest friends on the trip, Stephanie and Ally - we all tried to watch a movie, which we had to stop since we were falling asleep. The next morning we packed our things and left for Dublin.
|A Protestant mural in Belfast... no matter where you stand the gunman looks like he is aiming at you.|
|The Peace Wall|