For £25, you can hire a car for a guided tour of Belfast and be escorted into some of the neighborhoods you wouldn’t likely stroll into on your own. It’s an incredibly interesting and educational experience, and I’ll endeavor to recount the tales accurately here, but honestly our driver, Tom, crammed over 100 years of history and knowledge into our heads in just over an hour’s time, and so some of the details may be missing here.

UPDATE: I wrote the above paragraph on the train the day of our tour, and a month later have come back to it. If I recount stories now, I’ll butcher them to death, so instead I’ll just share the photos, and advise you to visit Belfast, take a Black Cab tour, and as for a man named Tom. ‘Cause you know, there’s only one cabbie named Tom in all of Belfast. I’m sure of it.

This is one of the many famous murals found in Belfast. Click the photo to open the gallery and see many more.

The Red Hand Of Ulster

This is the Peace Wall, built to separate the Republican and Loyalists. It was nearly torn down, as The Troubles appear to be mostly over, however the local residents voted against it, essentially saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It’s safe to say the peace is tenuous, and there’s no point making it any more fragile.

Peace WallThis is the nearly exact opposite side of the same wall. Here you can see homes rammed right up against it, and the massive fence built not only above the wall, but also over the back patios of the homes, protecting them from any molotov cocktails or the like that might be lobbed over the wall.

Homes bordering the Peace WallThis picture shot through the cab window as we drove by… a little girl in pink playing at the base of the wall, the monster fence rising behind her, a permanent fixture in her young life.

A young girl in pink playing in her driveway at the base of the Peace Wall

On one side of the wall, visitors are invited to write a message for history.

San Francisco says – keep the peace, Belfast! 4/26/2009

As usual, click on the photo above to open the gallery to more pictures.