Tuesday 1 May 2007


Years ago we visited Denver, Colorado and were greatly impressed with their claims of being “the biggest” “the first” “the greatest”. It seemed that outside of Denver the world didn’t exist. Dumped in the middle of arid land, in the middle of nowhere, it self-promoted itself into “the place to be”. Our American friends became frustrated with our tales of facts and wonders. You could almost hear them mutter under their breath “Bloody Denver, Denver, Denver I wish they would shut up about it”. Well now we will shut up. We have discovered …da-da-da..…BELFAST!

Did you know that Belfast has the largest dry dock in the world

Did you know that Belfast has the bigges cranes in the world (Samson and Delilah)?

Did you know that Belfast has the oldest English language newspaper in the World that was the first to print news of the French Revolution and The American Declaration of Independence?

Did you know that the defibrillator was invented and first used in Belfast?

Did you know that air-conditioning was invented and first used in Belfast?

Did you know that Doctors come to train in Belfast because they are world experts in the treatment of gunshot wounds and bomb trauma?

Did you know that Lord Baden-Powell (the founder of the scout movement) served in the army in Belfast and used to ride his horse to the local pub? OK, not a particularly amazing fact. But what is amazing is that he wouldn’t dismount. He simply rode into the pub, drank his Guinness and then went home to sleep it off. Now that’s a bit of English weirdness!

Oh! I could go on, but I won't

Belfast is an off the wall and wonderful place. Although we were obviously aware of the “troubles” it’s impossible to get a feel for what it's really like unless you go there. Thank goodness the city is now peaceful but they do say that coming up to the beginning of the marching season on the 12th July the tension between Catholics and Protestants begins to mount again.

The "peace wall" is still there to minimize intercommunal sectarian violence between them. The barriers themselves consist of iron, brick, and steel walls mainly 20/25 feet high (although local folklaw claims that in some sections it has recently been extended to a height of 50’!), topped with metal netting. The four crossing gates are closed at night.

Bearing in mind that this is a city about the size of Leicester it’s hard to it take it all in. A taxi driver told us that to this day local “war lords” control the streets and anyone with a problem goes to them to sort out, not the police. But…it’s the second safest city in the world, the safest city being Tokyo.

I remember in the 1950’/60’ the East End of London was ruled by gangsters and there was very little street crime their either. The little oich tearawys were too scared to misbehave or they would end up propping up the motorway. Maybe we should ask the “war lords” to run the county. Oh! My mistake – they do!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad you can spell Guinness but:

Outside of(?)Denver
1950'/60' should there be an S there.
their - surely there
county - possibly correct but I presume you mean country