Murals - Belfast, Northern Ireland

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.

Crawfordsburn House - Crawfordsburn, Northern Ireland

My European travels this summer took me to Belfast to stay with my Los Angeles friends who summer there every year at Crawfordsburn House & Country Park.  A beautiful old manor house and estate is now divided up into unique apartments with huge windows that overlook the coast.   It was the perfect laid back refresher for me after having just come from the intensity and energy of London.

 

Duke of York –Belfast, Northern Ireland

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?