I have to say, my stereotypes of Belfast had oversimplified the city. Yes, there is still tension between certain groups of Protestants and Catholics. But as a whole, I found the people I met there amazingly warm, charming and living life to the fullest. The murals from The Troubles era are fascinating and their lessons apply equally well to many current tensions around the rest of the world. I found it interesting that along with the political Protestant vs. Catholic murals depicting martyrs and injustices, you are also starting to see some inspiring murals on the Peace Wall depicting human rights' heroes from all over the world. Mural painting is so much a part of the culture here that it has sprouted a burgeoning, less overtly political, street art scene that is equally fascinating.
Mooney's is a gem along Shankill Road, the main Protestant thoroughfare of working class Belfast, that is at the center of the political troubles.
European butchers, grocers, and farmers I met found the "organic" labeling concept in the U.S. to be quite peculiar. As several put it, "For us, it's always organic and locally grown" so no need to have all the hype and marketing about labeling.
On my first morning in Belfast I came upon this scene of men changing out the kegs at the Duke of York pub in the Cathedral District. It happens just once a week…out with the old and in with the new. I had a great exchange with the bartenders as they went about their work. When I asked what beer sells the best...of course, Guinness. But surprisingly Coors Light is a close second. Is nothing sacred?