After living in the South of Ireland for quite a while, it was about time to explore the North of Ireland, especially Belfast. We were told to best do this by booking a Black Cap Tour through Belfast.
City Tour Belfast
After Giants Causeway, we went to Belfast for 24h. We took a Black Cab Tour in Belfast, which means that a local drives you through Belfast for around 1-2h in a black taxi and tells you all about the cities history and troubles.
You can book the Black Cab Tour online. There are many providers, but we choose Paddy Campbell’s. It is a fixed price per taxi, so the more people the cheaper it will be for you. Ideally, you are four people.
It is such an authentic tour because the people who tell you the story actually lived through all the religious and political troubles.
The Troubles of the North & Belfast
The North of Ireland is characterised by political and religious conflicts about identity and power between two population groups that never got along really well, even until today.
Back in the days about 70% of the population in the north was Protestant and only around 30% Catholic. The north also has been more industrial. Two good reason why Great Britain wanted to keep the North of Ireland.
The troubles resulted in 80% unemployment, only 2% mixed marriages and hundreds of death. People even have to tell their religion when applying for a job and it is common that they only find one in their own district.
However, the situation is slowly getting better over there and the next generations are already less stubborn and more open-minded. Also, the percentage of the two communities equalled out a bit more so that you have almost 50/50 Protestants and Catholics now.
The Black Cab Tour
During our Black Cab Tour, we visited the wall, which runs between Shankill Road (Protestant side) and Falls Road (Catholic side). It is about 5km long and basically divides the two communities. As they are still fighting nowadays, this wall is meant to keep the troubles low and promote peace between the two of them.
Our driver said to write something on the wall so that when it comes down, I can say I have been here. So that’s what I did! Check out my Youtube video Exploring the North of Ireland – Giants Causeway & Belfast.
Our next stop was the freedoms wall which has been painted in order to promote peace in the city. It shows examples of other countries with similar political or religious troubles. Other stops were the catholic as well as protestant neighbourhoods and other important historical places.
The Crown Bar
We ended our Black Cab Tour with a stop at the famous Crown Bar. It is one of the last pubs in Ireland in the Victorian style. Wooden ceilings, colourful glass and tiled floors create a super cosy atmosphere. If you come early, you might even be able to get yourself a cosy corner, also called snug. Around the corner of the Crown Bar is the famous pub quarter of Belfast, also called Cathedral quarter, which is worth seeing.
If you enjoyed this tour, and want to keep exploring the north of Ireland, then check out these famous sights as well: Giant’s Causeway, Rope Bridge and Dark Hedges.