Thursday, July 11, 2013

Belfast ,Belfast!

It is difficult to catch an essence of a place in a day.Especially for a person like me .Few people I have had the privellage to meet in this place have impressed me with the depth of their knowledge and 'no hang up 'attitude that makes them a winner.

The person on the open top bus had a mother who was born in Madhya pradesh and knew quite a bit about Sikkim as well.They seem to be well-versed about the history of the world in general.The cab driver gave me a lecture about Gandhi and a commentary on the Orange festival.

One thing you should not perhaps do is try and make bookings after hours for anything.

I called up the open bus service around seven in the evening.The man who answered the phone very sweetly said,'we will pick you up from your place at nine-thirty in the morning allright',-sounded almost as patronising as an older brother.In the morning they seemed oblivious of the arrangement.Nevertheless ,true to their perhaps drunken word,they sent a pick up to my place which was nowhere in their usual route.They even apologised.

Belfast and the Titanic.Yes ,there was this T-shirt in the gift shop which reads,'An Irishman built the Titanic and an Englishman sank it'.There is a whole musuem dedicated to it and there is also a titanic studio where movies are made.

C.S.lewis is a worthy son of the soil to whom a few relics have been dedicated .

Oscar Wilde was mentioned in the passing but I did not see any relics dedicated to him although the gift shop did have a handbook on Oscar Wilde's wit.
There is a festival dedicated to Samuel becket on now.
We saw the hills in the Belfast horizon which apparently had inspired Jonathan Swift to write the Gulliver's travel.
We have many such hills around Mangan.Hear,Hear!

The coach driver was reminding us that Aldous Huxley and C.S Lewis died on the same day and yet there was hardly much media coverage on their death that particular day.It was the day John F Kennedy was gunned down.

Samuel Becket was another son of the soil who was kicked out from an institution because he had the gall to call the attenders of the institution 'rich and thick'.

There is the Belfast hospital which occupies a special place in the heart of an irishman.It has quite a lot of Laurels to it.Apparently father of Emergency medicine ,Frank Patridge was from that hospital who apparently was also responsible for the first mobile defibrillator.There was a time when it was said that the safest place in the world to be in if you had a heart attack was Belfast.Milk of Magnessia was discovered in Belfast.

Prince Charles made the mistake of calling the hospital buiding 'the ugliest building he had ever seen' and the locals immediately nicknamed it 'Camelia'.

This is what makes an Irishman special.Now if one british citizen would speak up for NHS.

Belfast owes it's rise to the industrial revolution.

We also saw the notorius Bombay street where the uprising between the catholics and the protestants started-an innocious neighbourhood with a row of staid houses and a cathedral with broken windows which have been preserved .

The murals lining the street speak of a spirit of freedom...strangely touching.

The usual tongue in cheek Irishman has named a mural of a gun-totting comando,'Mona Lisa' after Da Vinci's famous painting which is supposed to look at you from every angle.

There are localities with rows and rows of houses with the northern Ireland flag hanging from every corner and street and at the end of the road is the muriel of prince william .

Wikipedia reads-
'William III & II (Dutch: Willem III; 4 November 1650 – 8 March 1702)[1] was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange (Dutch: Willem III van Oranje) over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland; it is a coincidence that his regnal number (III) was the same for both Orange and England. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II.[2] He is informally known by sections of the population in Northern Ireland and Scotland as "King Billy".[3] In what became known as the "Glorious Revolution", on 5 November 1688 William invaded England in an action that ultimately deposed King James II & VII and won him the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland. In the British Isles, William ruled jointly with his wife, Mary II, until her death on 28 December 1694. The period of their joint reign is often referred to as "William and Mary".

A Protestant, William participated in several wars against the powerful Catholic king of France, Louis XIV, in coalition with Protestant and Catholic powers in Europe. Many Protestants heralded him as a champion of their faith. Largely because of that reputation, William was able to take the British crowns when many were fearful of a revival of Catholicism under James. William's victory over James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is still commemorated by the Orange Order. His reign marked the beginning of the transition from the personal rule of the Stuarts to the more Parliament-centred rule of the House of Hanover.'

The Orange order is the biggest conglomeration of the protestants in Northern Ireland.
On my way to the station to catch a train to Derry I ambled into a pretty little market ...a heritage from the 1700s.
A house market ,a concept which apparently was popular then.
St Georges' market had a St.Georges' restaurant serving St.Georges' beef stew with buttered mash and bread.
Just my kind of food for a day of lots of walking.
The flavoured water was refreshing as well.
I am fascinated by the Belfast story.
I am going to do a lot more reading on the place.
It is adieu for the next two days.

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