Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Belfast murals

Paul took me up the Falls Road in Belfast to see the Republican murals.

Paul, showing me the 'Solidarity wall', which is covered in paintings reflecting Republican sympathies with other freedom fighters around the world, many of whom have been dispossessed by the Americans. Not to get political or anything. One of the murals is an advert for a taxi company, which just goes to show that American imperialism is felt everywhere.

Next up was the Bobby Sands mural on the side of the Sinn Fein office. This one is proper famous, it's even on Wikipedia. In the picture here is another Belfast landmark, a taxi - very similar to a London cab, with the subtle difference being that this one is in Belfast, and not London.

Beechmount Avenue, colloquially known as RPG Avenue, because apparently the street offered a line of sight for IRA RPG attacks on a security base in Springfield Road. Incidentally, RPG stands for "Reaktivniy Protivotankoviy Granatomyot" (from the Russian: реактивный противотанковый гранатомёт), or "Reactive anti-tank launcher", war fans!

We then drove across the Peace Line to the Shankhill Road, a Protestant heartland. The Peace Line is a massive wall topped by a giant mesh fence, segregating Catholic and Protestant areas of Belfast. It was designed to stop people chucking things like bottles and mortars over to the other side. Nowadays, you can drive from one area to the other with no hindrance, and the murals and propaganda are tourist attractions as much as political statements.

I don't know what James Buchanan ever did for Ireland, but this mural made a change from the Union flags and AK's up the rest of the Shankhill Road.

Paul is a Liverpool fan.

After looking at the murals we drove north. I didn't take any photos because it was bucketing down in true Irish style. We stopped in Carnlough for fish and chips, and for a treat, Paul bought me a bag of dulce, a delicacy in these parts. Dulce is dried seaweed, harvested in the dead of night by salty sea dogs. It's possibly the most revolting thing that has ever passed my lips.
You need to drink about a gallon of water to wash it down because it's so salty. It has the texture of thin rubber, and tastes like something that has been sloshing around in rancid seawater for a couple of years. Much as you'd expect, really - I can't imagine why anyone would think of eating it. Presumably that's got something to do with the Potato Famine.

1 comment:

alex_sotheran said...

Man, I already seen all that shit. I even got photos of it already. You're Soooooooooooooooooooooo last year.