When in Belfast, you must take a black-taxi tour! Our tour was specifically a mural tour where we learned about “The Troubles” of Northern Ireland.
The Troubles refer to the late 20th century conflict in Northern Ireland which largely centered around the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Unionists/Loyalists (predominantly Protestants) want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. Irish Nationalists/Republicans (predominantly Catholics) want Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join Ireland.
Our guide, John "Jaggy" Johnson, was born on the British/Protestant side. Growing up, his house was burned down twice. He also had an uncle who fought for the Ireland Republic Army (IRA) who sought to remove Northern Ireland from British rule. Nonetheless he gave a very unbiased, informational tour as we viewed the murals around town. He even brought along sharpies so we could leave a message on the "peace wall" which divides the protestant and catholic neighborhoods.
The gates still close each night.The peace walls were scheduled to come down in 2018 but have now postponed until 2023. The "troubles" began in 1969 and were quite intense until 1998, but there are still issues of violence surrounding the issues today. Our guide has been giving tours for 10 years and is involved in a lot of work to help integrate the communities. Today, their motto is “Respect. Remember. Resolution”.
Know Before You Go!
We booked our tour here.
It cost about 35 GBP for both of us - many tours cost that per person. We loved our guide, Jaggy, so much that we threw in a tip.
Tour lasts an 1.5 hours
Fun fact - did you know the guides own the cabs themselves?