A journey through divided communities and shared complex history
Discover Belfast’s tumultuous past on the Belfast Troubles Walking Tour, a gripping exploration of the Troubles from the unique perspectives of two opposing communities in South Belfast. Over the course of three decades, these communities were profoundly impacted by violence and inter-communal strife. This immersive tour takes you through two distinct areas: one staunchly Protestant, unionist, and ‘British,’ and the other passionately Catholic, nationalist, and ‘Irish.’ Despite their geographic proximity, during the Troubles, these neighbourhoods were worlds apart, with most residents leading segregated lives, often too afraid to cross the divide.
As you journey through these areas, you’ll gain insight into the Troubles by interpreting the murals, memorials, and plaques that tell the gripping narrative of each community’s perspective during this period of civil conflict. Our aim is to provide an unbiased account of the Troubles, delving into the experiences of both sides and tracing the conflict’s roots in the region’s complex history, dating back 500 years to the English and Scottish colonisation during the so-called ‘Plantation of Ireland’ in the later sixteenth century.
Learn how the Troubles ultimately came to an end in 1998 with the historic Good Friday Agreement, setting Northern Ireland on the path to peace and reconciliation. Discover the stories of the people who were directly involved in the conflict, their roles, and the profound impact of their actions on the city and its residents. We present all of this from an entirely neutral, civilian perspective, offering a balanced and comprehensive understanding of this troubled period in Belfast’s history.
Our tour also sheds light on the remarkable progress Belfast has made since the ceasefires and the Peace Process, showcasing the city’s transformation towards a brighter and more peaceful future. Whether you’re well-versed in the city’s complex history or just beginning to explore it, this tour is suitable for anyone visiting Belfast. Join us on this enlightening journey through Belfast’s troubled past, its compelling narratives, and its path toward reconciliation and healing.
The tour begins on one of Belfast’s oldest historic streets, where in July 1690, Protestant King William III, a celebrated hero in the Unionist community, passed through en route to confront his deposed Catholic father-in-law, King James II. This event laid the groundwork for the enduring narratives that shape Northern Ireland’s complex history.
Continuing through an inner-city area primarily inhabited by Protestants with strong British affiliations, you’ll encounter houses adorned with vivid murals dedicated to King William III, affectionately known as King Billy. These artistic representations are enduring symbols of pride for the Unionist community.
The tour proceeds past memorials paying tribute to armed groups that played roles in the Troubles, with flags proudly displayed on lamp posts and public art signifying unwavering allegiance to the Unionist cause.
Upon transitioning to a Catholic and Irish neighborhood, you’ll witness a stark contrast in how the Troubles are commemorated. Here, the legacy of this turbulent era is remembered in a profoundly different manner. The tour guides you to memorials honoring two mass shootings separated by two decades, each a somber testament to the tragic events during this period.
Further along the route, individual memorials dot the landscape, each bearing the name and story of an individual who lost their life during the Troubles.
The tour concludes at the renowned St. George’s Market, a Victorian covered market known today for its vibrant weekend markets featuring crafts and cuisine, providing a fitting end to your exploration of Belfast’s complex history.
START: The tour is 2.5 hours. Exact times will be arranged in advance.
LANGUAGE: All tours are delivered in English.
MEET: Opposite the mural of King Billy Mural, across the road from the Holiday Inn Belfast (Hotel address: 40 Hope Street, Belfast, BT12 5EE).
END: 2.5 hours by St George’s Market, East Bridge Street, Belfast BT1 3NQ.
COST: 25.00 GBP per adult (16 and over); minimum group is 5 adults, maximum is 15.
INCLUDED: tour guide.