weekly photo challenge – monument

BELFAST BLUE 1 A monument – for me it’s a whole city – a modern, trendy, exciting and very friendly city with one of the most bloody history in modern days: BELFAST!

And I lived there when everything changed – I lived in Belfast from 1999 – 2009, I was there when everything happen – when the people of Northern Ireland just had enough of bombs, the killing and retaliation.

I was there welcoming Bill Clinton and his family when he arrived the last time as president to Belfast in 1999. What I understand has he been back so late as this year – that’s why I like Bill. BELFAST CITY HALL 1 It was never that bad during my years in Belfast, but there was shootings, bomb scares and killings happening from time to time. I think  one of the turning point was when Robert McCartney was murdered in January 2005 at “Magennis’ Bar in Belfast, allegedly carried out by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

my taxi company

And his family went public and said they didn’t want any retaliation, after IRA had made an offer to McCartney’s family to shoot the people directly involved in the murder. Still today nobody has been convicted for Robert’s murder.

There is always some people that don’t want to adapt to the changes and there is still things happening – that shouldn’t happen – but the terrible bloody war over.

Titanic Center; Belfast Today Belfast is on National Geographic’s top 20 list of the world  MUST tourist destinations. A trendy and chic city with a rich culture life, great food, nightlife, education (one of the best universities in the world “Queens”), pubs, shopping and very affordable.

In March 2012 the Titanic Museum in Belfast open up and I would call the beautiful building a monument over what people can achieve when united and decide that “enough is enough” – the Northern Ireland problems goes back to 1609. titantic center on a distance The most famous monument/landmark of Belfast is Samson and Goliath , the twin gantry cranes. The cranes are situated in the shipyard of Harland & Wolff and were constructed by the German engineering firm Krupp, with Goliath being completed in 1969 and Samson, in 1974. At the time Harland & Wolff was one of the largest shipbuilders in the world.

This is Goliath, the smallest. The cranes are one of the largest in the world and the shipyard still have the largest dry dock in the world and still in use, only for repair jobs.  Goliath,

One of the cities monuments are Europa Hotel , a four-star hotel in Great Victoria Street, the “most bombed hotel in the world” after having suffered 28 bomb attacks during the trouble, but the owners never closed the hotel for one day.

hotel europa 2

I LOVE Belfast, what it offers and it’s people – every November I go back to revisit the city and my friends I left behind.

Belfast is a happy monument of the 21’s century, but there still could be more changes.

“I’ve never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.”
Will Harvey

Why not join the challenge or at least check out all the other fantastic entries: PHOTO CHALLENGE – Monument

sculpture Titanica

47 thoughts on “weekly photo challenge – monument

  1. What a nice post! A lovely take on the concept of “monument”. I do enjoy so much the way you share your life with us, and what a life it has been and still is. PS Bill’s not perfect, but he’s “perfectly human” and I think he’s just grand – always have even when he was being “perfectly stupid”. Cheers! Mary

    • Bill – like everyone else – not perfect, but as the President he was brilliant – he solved problems without guns – and he still believes in that we should try to talk to each other instead. What a support he still are for Northern Ireland.
      In all honesty I think he was set up – any other woman would have dry cleaned that dress the following day. *smile
      Thanks for your lovely commet, Mary.
      I think a fun and happy city can be a monument over people’s will for change and force.

  2. To be honest, I never really understood the IRA/Northern Ireland conflict. So when we went to Ireland, the north was not included in our itinerary. Now I see its beauty and I might want to go back maybe in combo with a tour to Scotland.

    • Bebs, Belfast is better than Dublin today – and so much cheaper – still it’s has the same Irish spirit and friendliness. I see Ireland as one country, I wish everyone did. I didn’t live in Northern Ireland, I live on Ireland.
      If you visit Scotland you have to give Belfast a couple of days, there is so much to see in Northern Ireland. Only 20 min fly from Glasgow or Edinburg – or you can go by bus all the way.
      The conflict goes back to 1600’s – not much to understand – but like most wars … it’s all about religion. And all religions preach that we should love everybody and still religion is cause of nearly every war during history. The main thing is that people today lives in peace.

  3. I was in Ireland in 1974 and loved it. I don’t really remember visiting Dublin, but I do remember when we stayed overnight in Drogheda. When we walked from our B&B to get something to eat, we crossed a bridge guarded by men with machine guns and asked what was happening. There was a shipment of some sort and there was concern, realistic, that there might be an attempt at bombing or an attack of some sort. Despite the assurances from all the Irish people we’d talked to that it was safe to go north, we decided what we’d seen was beautiful enough and turned back the next day. Love Irish music, BTW.


    • Janet, in 1974 – I wouldn’t dare to put one foot over the boarder to Northern Ireland. Only a year before I moved there – the streets was on fire and there is still some fire underneath the peace process – ready to bloom today. There were bad problems last year about a march
      And when I was there in 2012, it became problems over the Union Jack. But it’s always meant to be peaceful demonstration, then the “rotten eggs” see a chance to get a chance to fight – to get on the front page of the world’s media again – all with their faces covered up.
      But Belfast isn’t world news anymore – there is much bigger things going on in the world and that has helped a lot for the city to be able to change.

      This song I had many happy dances with at the pubs in Belfast.

      • More Guinness and less fighting…or maybe less Guinness. 🙂 (I’m a big fan of Guinness.) Sad that there’s so much hate in the world and so much oppression.

      • I agree, Janet … I don’t like beer .. and Guinness is like
        rocket fuel to me. I think the beer drinking had very little do with the problems in Norhern Ireland.
        Soccer is a massive another problem in NI … Celtic and Rangers fan still hate each other. What a carry on.!!! Icehockey, everybody has a great time.

      • Big hockey fan. 🙂 I know the beer wasn’t the problem; just being facetious. Soccer hooliganism is something I do NOT understand. Loving a team, yes; getting in riots because of it; not at all.

      • Even here in Sweden – a fan was killed before a match in Helsingborg city center, 12 min away from where I live. It was the first time it happen, but its 2014 and hopefully it will be the last. Happened 2 weeks ago.
        We are suppose to have fun on sport events … I’m a hockey fan too, Sweden was so close in OS.

  4. Superb post, Vivi. I’m tapping my toes to the song and I can just about see the skirts twirling 🙂 Don’t think I can manage this one on a day trip but I’d like to see it some day.

    • Yes, it’s a very special city … and it’s going to be even better when you return.
      I had very mixed feeling when I was asked by my company to move from Brighton, so chic . and close to London … to Belfast, but after 2 days of disbelieve it started grow on me – and that was all because of the people I met .. so friendly everywhere.

  5. Nice take on this – and I have never been to Ireland – should have gone many years ago, but somehow it just kept running down my list. I had a friend who went sailing barges on canals (I believe it was Ireland…) but that didn’t attract me. I would like to meet the people and the GREEN ireland. You made me put it back on my list again!

    • I tell you, A-C … I will love Ireland – you will fall madly in love.
      The scenery, the history .. and the people. I have always said that Ireland is the only place where we want to return to before we have even left.
      Dublin is green … and Belfast is blue – but they both are on the island with redheaded girls, green fields and black beer.
      Even if I passionate in love with Dublin, Belfast wins … less stress, smaller, not so much traffic .. friendlier .. and cheaper.

      • No, these are the only 2 sleeves I’ve done so far and are available at my shop, but what I was saying is that I could make one for you if you prefer the poppies [or any other design], which will be added to my shop anyway. I have done that for friends so don’t hesitate to ask. Goes without saying that if you don’t like it, don’t feel that you have to buy it, please!!!! I’m having lots of fun doing these, so don’t worry about it! 🙂

  6. You’ve really lived a very interesting life, Viveka. Great photos, and I love that graceful monument at the end of your post. 10 years in Belfast? Do you speak Swedish with an Irish accent? 😀

    • Yes, I had a great life … 1 year in Dublin .. 6 years in Birghton – 23 years in total living aboard. Denmark, USA and Canada too.
      Rowan Gillespie’s sculpture Titanica in-front of the Titanic Museum – it’s beautiful …. Rowan is born in Dublin and have famous sculptures all over the world.

  7. Well, this is already filed for ‘evening studies’. Although I have had many Irish friends here I have never been to the Emerald Isle and would have headed more towards the riches of Dublin and surrounds. You give a very interesting picture of the north. Did not even know about the huge cranes of Belfast 🙂 ! Have always liked Bill Clinton ~ look Hillary knew about his ‘open zipper’ before they got married – it was up to her whether she would put up with it and this never belonged to the whole world. I mean John F Kennedy was twice as bad and actually a worse even if glamorous president!! Do you know you can get a free and very interesting email newsletter on ‘Bill Clinton Foundation’ – I really admire how the whole family, including a very clever Chelsea, are involved in it, and especially how much Hillary and Chelsea have achieved for women!!!

    • Eha, I agree again – Kennedy he as very hot head and we was lucky that we didn’t end up in a World War – that was so close, and if we had a war at that time, there had been nothing left of us, because it would have been a nuclear war. Kennedy was very charismatic. Bill is one of the best presidents US had for years. He tried to avoid military inflicts and he believe that talking was the answer to solve conflicts, not guns and cost of lives.
      Yes, I take my hat off for the whole family – nobody is perfect, we all do mistakes, but it wasn’t anything that affected their ability to think straight. Hillary did hers too, but what a woman. Have a lot of time for them all. I knew about his foundation, I think I will sign up their newsletter.

  8. Thanks for this wonderful post, I would never have known Belfast beyond the Boney M disco version that made a point of the city’s issues in the strangely mystifying lyrics; getting people to dance all over the world. And am curious how and what took you there. You must be on an important mission to meet Bill Clinton. Wow!

    • No, I didn’t meet Bill in person – I was standing outside his hotel .. cheering when he arrived. I wish I met him in person.
      I didn’t know that Boney M have made a song about Belfast, is it this song. I learned something new today too. *smile
      My work took me to UK and Ireland – also to US and Canada. No man involved only fun and hard work.

      • That’s wonderful Viv, an eventful life and its me who learnt something about Belfast today! The Boney M songs were hugely popular in the late seventies early eighties, playing at every party and discotheque! No one ever paid much attention to the lyrics as they were pop disco music, just the chorus ‘Bel-Fast, ta ta tarra ta ta’ ;-P

      • Yes, when I looked it up on YouTube … I knew it – I have been dancing many times to the song.
        As you said .. I never notice the lyrics. Great disco song. Have bought it on Itune now. Down memory lanes again. *smile Thank you so much.

    • Cris …. thank you so much – yes, the family Hastings decided to not give into the “terrorists” – and business as usual. I don’t know how big the damage was … it was before my time. IRA bombed the Grand Hotel in Brighton too … the whole inside collapsed. There was some serious causalities.
      But the hotel is still standing.

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