Belfast and the Best of Northern Ireland

Belfast and the Best of Northern Ireland


HI, I’M RICK STEVES, BACK WITH MORE
OF THE BEST OF EUROPE. THIS TIME WE’RE REALLY
ON THE EDGE. STAY WITH US AS WE EXPLORE
THE BEST OF NORTHERN IRELAND. AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, NO TRIP
TO IRELAND IS REALLY COMPLETE WITHOUT VISITING
NORTHERN IRELAND. SURE, IT’S HAD ITS TROUBLES, AND WE’LL CHECK OUT SOME
POWERFUL POLITICAL SIGHTS. BUT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE. NORTHERN IRELAND COMES
WITH THE SAME FRIENDLY PEOPLE AND LUSH SCENERY YOU’D EXPECT TO FIND
ANYWHERE ON THE EMERALD ISLE, AND THERE’S
NO TOURIST CROWDS. WE’LL TOUR BUSTLING BELFAST,
SNEAK A PEAK AT ITS MORE POLITICIZED
SECTARIAN NEIGHBORHOODS, GO WILD
IN THE ULSTER CONEY ISLAND AND TASTE-TEST
IRISH WHISKEY. WE’LL SCRAMBLE OVER
SOME SIX-SIDED GEOLOGY, TEE OFF ON A WORLD-CLASS
GOLF COURSE AND STOMP OUR FEET TO SOME
TRADITIONAL MUSIC. NORTHERN IRELAND IS PART
OF A GROUP OF ISLANDS CALLED THE BRITISH ISLES AND PART OF A POLITICAL
ENTITY CALLED THE UNITED
KINGDOM. THE EMERALD ISLE
IS COMPRISED OF THE INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC
OF IRELAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND. THE NORTHERN REGION
IS ALSO CALLED ULSTER. FROM THE CAPITAL,
BELFAST, WE TRAVEL
TO FUN-LOVING PORTRUSH TO THE ROUGH-AND-TUMBLE CITY
OF DERRY AND ENJOY ATTRACTIONS
ALONG THE ANTRIM COAST. HERE IN NORTHERN IRELAND
SIGHT-SEEING MAKES MORE SENSE WITH A LITTLE BACKGROUND. ALL OF IRELAND WAS ONCE
RULED BY BRITAIN. BUT THE IRISH DIDN’T ASSIMILATE
QUITE ACCORDING TO PLAN. WHILE BRITAIN WAS PROTESTANT,
MOST OF THE IRISH WERE CATHOLIC, AND WITH THESE RELIGIOUS
DIFFERENCES CAME A DEEP-SEATED
CULTURAL DIVIDE. TO HELP BOLSTER ITS CONTROL,
LONDON PLANTED SETTLERS, PROTESTANT SETTLERS
MOSTLY FROM SCOTLAND. THESE PEOPLE BECAME
THE SCOTS-IRISH, THE DOMINANT ETHNIC GROUP
IN NORTH IRELAND TODAY. BUT CENTURIES OF BRITISH RULE
LED TO STRIFE. IN THE 1920s,
AFTER A BLOODY WAR, MOST OF IRELAND BECAME
AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY, CATHOLIC AND RULED FROM DUBLIN. BUT THE NORTH,
WITH ITS PROTESTANT MAJORITY, OPTED TO STAY WITH BRITAIN. AND THE ISLAND REMAINS DIVIDED
TO THIS DAY. YOU’LL SEE SYMBOLS
OF THAT DIVISION THROUGHOUT
NORTHERN IRELAND. PROTESTANT ORANGE PARADES
ARE COMMON. SEVERAL THOUSAND A YEAR
DURING MARCHING SEASON, BETWEEN EASTER
AND EARLY SEPTEMBER, FILL THE STREETS
WITH SECTARIAN PAGEANTRY. WHILE 90% OF THESE PARADE
THROUGH PROTESTANT TOWNS AND ARE, THEREFORE, PEACEFUL,
A FEW ARE ANTAGONISTIC, MARCHING THROUGH CATHOLIC
TOWNS AND NEIGHBORHOODS. FAR MORE POLITICAL
THAN YOUR AVERAGE PARADE, THESE ARE LIKE PEP RALLIES
FOR THE CAUSE OF CONTINUED UNION
WITH BRITAIN… …A CHANCE FOR PARENTS TO SHARE THEIR POLITICAL
PASSIONS WITH THEIR KIDS. [ drum pattern ] THE LONG-ESTABLISHED
ORANGE ORDER WORKS TO DEFEND THE UNION
WITH BRITAIN, SO THEIR POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
IS UNIONIST. ORANGE IS THE TEAM COLOR AND
THE UNION JACK IS ITS FLAG. THIS IS COUNTERED
ON THE CATHOLIC SIDE BY NATIONALISTS
AND REPUBLICANS, PEOPLE WHO WANT
THE ENTIRE ISLAND TO BE ONE NATION. THEIR COLOR IS GREEN AND
THEY FLY THE IRISH FLAG. IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND,
THERE’S NO QUESTION, CATHOLICS RULE. BUT HERE IN THE PROTESTANT
DOMINATED NORTH, THE CATHOLICS, WITH OVER A THIRD
OF THE POPULATION, ARE JUST TOO BIG A MINORITY
TO IGNORE. IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN CONTROL, PROTESTANTS EMPLOYED POLICIES
WHICH WERE TOUGH ON CATHOLICS. THIS ESCALATED TENSIONS
WHICH LED TO THE TROUBLES, WHICH HAVE FILLED HEADLINES
AROUND HERE SINCE THE LATE 1960s. AS PROTESTANTS AND CATHOLICS
CLASHED, THE BRITISH ARMY
ENTERED THE FRAY AND THEY’VE BEEN HERE
EVER SINCE. THANKFULLY, REAL PROGRESS TOWARD
PEACE HAS BEEN MADE RECENTLY AND, WHILE YOU STILL DON’T WANT
TO SING PROTESTANT SONGS IN A CATHOLIC PUB LIKE THIS,
OR VICE VERSA, NORTHERN IRELAND HAS BECOME
A GREAT PLACE TO VISIT. BELFAST, JUST A COUPLE HOURS
NORTH OF DUBLIN, STRADDLES THE
LAGAN RIVER. IT WAS ONLY A VILLAGE
IN THE 17th CENTURY. BUT WITH THE INFLUX OF
SCOTTISH AND ENGLISH
SETTLERS AND THE INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION, WHICH TOOK ROOT
WITH A VENGEANCE HERE, BELFAST BOOMED. WHILE THE REST OF IRELAND REMAINED RURAL
AND AGRICULTURAL, BELFAST WAS NICKNAMED
OLD SMOKE. SHIPBUILDING WAS HUGE. THIS SLIPWAY WAS THE
BIRTHPLACE OF THE “TITANIC” AND MANY SHIPS
THAT DIDN’T SINK. THE NEIGHBORING DRY DOCK IS
WHERE THAT ILL-FATED SHIP, THE BIGGEST MAN-MADE
MOVING OBJECT OF ITS DAY, WAS OUTFITTED. NEARBY, TWO HUGE CRANES, ONCE
THE BIGGEST IN THE WORLD, NICKNAMED SAMSON
AND GOLIATH, RISE LIKE SKYSCRAPERS
ABOVE THE HARBOR, ANOTHER REMINDER OF THIS
TOWN’S FORMER SHIPBUILDING
MIGHT. IN 1888, QUEEN VICTORIA
GRANTED CITY STATUS TO THIS BOOMTOWN OF 300,000,
AND SOON AFTER, ITS CITIZENS BUILT BELFAST’S
CENTERPIECE, CITY HALL. WITH ITS STATUE
OF QUEEN VICTORIA SCOWLING
DOWN BELFAST’S MAIN DRAG AND THE UNION JACK
FLAPPING BEHIND HER, IT’S A STIRRING SIGHT. QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY IS ALSO FROM THE ILLUSTRIOUS
REIGN OF VICTORIA. ITS BACKYARD IS
AN INVITING PUBLIC PARK, PARTICULARLY RELAXING ON A
SUNNY SUMMER AFTERNOON. THE PALM HOUSE, AN EARLY EXAMPLE OF AN
IRON AND GLASS GREENHOUSE DATING FROM THE
MID-1800s, GIVES YOU A LUSH AND HUMID
JUNGLE EXPERIENCE RIGHT IN BELFAST. ALSO IN THE GARDEN
IS THE ULSTER MUSEUM, THE CITY’S ONE
MAJOR MUSEUM. YOU’LL FIND A FASCINATING
MADE-IN-BELFAST EXHIBIT UNDER AN ARCH
PROCLAIMING, “TRADE IS THE GOLDEN GIRDLE
OF THE GLOBE.” EXHIBITS EXPLAIN HOW BELFAST
THRIVED IN ITS GLORY DAYS. THE LINEN INDUSTRY
EMPLOYED THOUSANDS. BELFAST WORKERS MADE
PRODUCTS FROM FLAX, LIKE CANVAS AND ROPE, WHICH CONTRIBUTED MIGHTILY
TO MARITIME COMMERCE. MASSIVE SHIPS,
MADE IN BELFAST, WERE COMMONPLACE
FROM SEATTLE TO SHANGHAI. IT FEELS LIKE A NEW MORNING
IN BELFAST. IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE THAT THIS BRIGHT AND BUSTLING
COMMERCIAL CENTER WAS ONCE A TENSE AND SUBDUED
SECURITY ZONE. TODAY THERE’S NO HINT
OF SECURITY CHECKS, NOT LONG AGO A TIRESOME
DAILY ROUTINE. STILL, IT’S A FRAGILE PEACE,
ESPECIALLY EVIDENT IN THE WORKING-CLASS CATHOLIC
AND PROTESTANT
NEIGHBORHOODS. MEAN-SPIRITED MURALS AND PUBS
WITH SECURITY GATES ARE REMINDERS
THAT THE ISLAND IS SPLIT, AND A DWINDLING, YET STILL SUBSTANTIAL
NUMBER OF EXTREMISTS PREFER IT THAT WAY. THESE FLAG-WAVING HOTBEDS
OF THE TROUBLES HAVE BECOME TOURIST
ATTRACTIONS TO MANY CURIOUS
VISITORS. THE BEST WAY TO GET
AROUND BELFAST IS BY CAB. AND YOUR RIDE CAN COME
WITH AN EDUCATION. FOR A REASONABLE
HOURLY FEE, MANY CABBIES GIVE VISITORS
IMPROMPTU TOURS. MY GUIDE, NORMAN, IS SHARING
SOME PERSONAL INSIGHTS. NORMAN, CAN YOU EXPLAIN
TO ME JUST IN GENERAL ABOUT SECTARIAN
NEIGHBORHOODS? SECTARIAN
NEIGHBORHOODS ARE WITHIN
THE WORKING-CLASS AREAS AND THE WORKING-CLASS
AREAS ONLY, WHERE THEY KEEP DIVIDED
BECAUSE OF, WELL, THE HATRED FOR EACH OTHER
AND, OF COURSE, WHAT THEY’VE DONE
TO EACH OTHER THROUGH TERRORISM. FALLS ROAD IS A WELL-KNOWN
REPUBLICAN STRONGHOLD IN THE WEST PART
OF BELFAST. SO THIS IS A CATHOLIC
NEIGHBORHOOD, THEN, HUH? WELL, IT’S MORE RENOWNED
FOR BEING REPUBLICAN RATHER THAN
JUST CATHOLIC. OKAY. SO WHY IS IT
SO FAMOUS? BECAUSE OF THE AMOUNT
OF TROUBLE THAT HAPPENED HERE BETWEEN THE IRA
AND THE BRITISH SOLDIERS AND THE POLICE FORCE
AND SO ON. IT FEELS SAFE TODAY. WELL, THINGS HAVE CHANGED
OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS. BUT THERE ARE THESE SYMBOLS
OF THE SECTARIANISM THAT STILL ARE STRONG,
AREN’T THEY? VERY STRONG AND WILL
REMAIN TO BE STRONG BECAUSE OF THE BACKGROUNDS
WITHIN THE CONFLICT. MURALS ARE AN ART FORM AND THEY COME WITH A STRONG
POLITICAL MESSAGE. IRELAND WILL RISE
LIKE A PHOENIX, IRELAND SHOULD BE FREE
AND UNITED, AND SO ON. POLICE STATIONS
STAND LIKE FORTRESSES. AND EVERYWHERE IN THIS
CATHOLIC NEIGHBORHOOD, THE REPUBLICAN CAUSE
IS HONORED. AN IMPORTANT STOP ALONG FALLS
ROAD IS THE MILL TOWN
CEMETERY, WHERE GAELIC CROSSES
ALLOW CATHOLIC REPUBLICANS TO MAKE A STATEMENT
IN DEATH AND WHERE IRA FIGHTERS ARE BURIED WITH THE HONOR
OF FALLEN SOLDIERS. Rick:
SO TELL ME
ABOUT THIS. IT’S A CATHOLIC
CEMETERY WITH ALSO SOME REPUBLICAN
ATTACHMENT TO IT, A LOT OF REPUBLICAN
PEOPLE BURIED, AS WELL AS CATHOLICS,
OF COURSE. AND THIS IS A TYPICAL CROSS,
WITH IRISH DESIGN ON, OF COURSE, WHICH IS
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, SHOWING A TYPICAL
IRISH BACKGROUND. THE MOST VISITED
GRAVESITE HERE, SET APART
BY LITTLE GREEN RAILINGS, COMMEMORATES IRA HEROES. AMONG MANY OTHERS,
IT REMEMBERS BOBBY SANDS AND NINE OTHER
HUNGER STRIKERS. THEY STARVED THEMSELVES
TO DEATH IN A NEARBY PRISON IN 1981. THEY WANTED TO BE TREATED
AS POLITICAL PRISONERS RATHER THAN CRIMINAL
TERRORISTS. Norman:
IT HASN’T ALWAYS BEEN
CATHOLICS AGAINST PROTESTANTS. IT’S BEEN PEOPLE
OF MORE THE EXTREMISTS WITHIN THE RELIGIONS WHERE THE MODERATE, BOTH
CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANTS, HAVE NOT SUPPORTED
THE ACTIONS OF EITHER LOYALISM
OR REPUBLICANISM. LOYALISTS ARE THE EXTREMISTS
OF PROTESTANTS. REPUBLICANS ARE
THE EXTREMISTS OF CATHOLICS. SO THE MODERATE PARTIES
ARE KNOWN AS UNIONISTS, WHICH ARE
MODERATE PROTESTANTS, AND NATIONALISTS, WHICH
ARE MODERATE CATHOLICS. SO THERE ARE A LOT
OF MODERATES, ACTUALLY, THAT AREN’T
AT EACH OTHER’S THROATS? THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE
IN NORTHERN IRELAND ARE THE MODERATES. A BLEAK WALL SEPARATES
THE CATHOLIC REPUBLICANS OF THE FALLS ROAD AREA FROM THE PROTESTANT LOYALISTS
IN THE SHANKILL ROAD AREA. IT’S CALLED THE
PEACE LINE BECAUSE WITHOUT IT
THERE’D BE NO PEACE. BUT PROGRESS
IS BEING MADE. IN A PROMISING CHANGE, AFTER
30 YEARS OF BEING CLOSED, THIS GATE IS NOW OPEN, CONNECTING THE TWO
NEIGHBORHOODS. FOR A SAMPLING
OF UNIONIST PASSION, YOU CAN EXPLORE THIS WORKING-
CLASS PROTESTANT
NEIGHBORHOOD. MURALS ON SHANKILL ROAD
PROMOTE THE UNIONIST OR LOYALIST
CAUSE. THERE’S LOTS
OF SYMBOLISM. EVERY TIME I VISIT, LOCALS STRESS IT’S NOT
PROTESTANTS FIGHTING
CATHOLICS; IT’S EXTREMIST LOYALISTS,
WHO HAPPEN TO BE PROTESTANT, FIGHTING EXTREMIST REPUBLICANS,
WHO HAPPEN TO BE CATHOLIC. THESE EXTREMISTS ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PROUD TO LIVE
IN SECTARIAN NEIGHBORHOODS, AND IT’S THESE EXTREMISTS
WHO FAN THE PERSISTENT FLAMES OF IRELAND’S TROUBLES. THE BIG HOPE NOW IS FOR A
NEW GENERATION TO BE RAISED WITHOUT THE EXTREMISM
OF THE PAST. CHILDREN PLAYING
TOGETHER HERE ARE BOTH CATHOLICS
AND PROTESTANTS, PART OF A
SUMMER-CAMP PROGRAM GIVING KIDS
FROM BOTH COMMUNITIES REASONS TO LIVE TOGETHER
RATHER THAN APART. ABOUT AN HOUR’S DRIVE
FROM BELFAST TAKES US TO NORTHERN
IRELAND’S FAVORITE RESORT,
PORTRUSH. THIS IS THE PLAYGROUND
OF ULSTER AND AN IDEAL BASE FOR EXPLORING THE HIGHLIGHTS
OF THE ANTRIM COAST. PORTRUSH HAS LONG BEEN
THE CONEY ISLAND OF IRELAND’S NORTH. ITS ARCHITECTURE RETAINS
THE ATMOSPHERE OF A GENTEEL
SEASIDE RESORT. PORTRUSH FILLS
ITS PENINSULA WITH FAMILY-ORIENTED
AMUSEMENTS… …FUN EATERIES… …AND CHEAP AND CHEERY
BED AND BREAKFASTS. SUMMERTIME FUN SEEKERS
PROMENADE ALONG THE TOY
HARBOR AND TUMBLE DOWN
TO THE SANDY BEACHES, WHICH EXTEND IN SWEEPING
WHITE CRESCENTS ON EITHER
SIDE. BARRY’S OLD-TIME
AMUSEMENT ARCADE IS A FINE CHANCE TO SEE
NORTHERN IRELAND AT PLAY. WHILE SOME DO THE
LOOP-DE-LOOP, OTHERS MELLOW OUT
ON THE BOWLING GREEN. [ whack ] [ whack ] [ whack ] OR MAYBE YOU’D RATHER
GO GOLFING. SERIOUS GOLFERS CAN GET A TEE
TIME AT THE ROYAL PORTRUSH. IRISH GOLF COURSES,
LIKE THOSE IN SCOTLAND, ARE HIGHLY SOUGHT OUT BY
PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE GAME. ROYAL PORTRUSH
GOLF CLUB IS ONE OF THE BEST LINKS
GOLF COURSES IN BRITAIN, SO LIKE ALL
THE LINKS GOLF COURSES, IT’S DRY, TOUGH, BREEZY
AND VERY ENJOYABLE. Rick:
SO WHAT IS A LINKS
GOLF COURSE? WELL, THE BEST
LINKS GOLF COURSE IS RUNNING
AGAINST THE SEA. AND WE HAVE
AN EXPRESSION THAT THE LINKS IS
THE PIECE OF GROUND THAT LINKS THE LAND
TO THE SEA. LINKS GOLF COURSES ARE
A SAND-BASED GOLF COURSE. THEY’RE DRY AND ROLLING
AND — ON, LIKE, PARK LAND THAT MAY HAVE
A LOT OF WATER AND TREES AND BUSHES. IT’S ALL SORT OF JUST ROUGH
GRASS AND HARD LIES, AND THAT’S IT. A REASON TO TRAVEL
TO IRELAND, THEN? IT’S A GREAT REASON
TO COME TO IRELAND. I DIG MY DIVOTS NEXT DOOR AT
THE PITCH-AND-PUTT RANGE. YOU GET TWO CLUBS AND BALLS
FOR JUST A COUPLE POUNDS. ROOKIES YOUNG AND OLD SHARE
THE SAME GLORIOUS SETTING AND TURF WITH, WHO KNOWS,
PERHAPS A CHAMP IN THE
MAKING, OR PERHAPS NOT. AAHH. IRELAND AND BRITAIN ARE NO LONGER BASTIONS
OF TERRIBLE FOOD. THE RAMORE WINE BAR
OFFERS AN INVITING MENU YOU WOULDN’T HAVE FOUND
ANYWHERE IN IRELAND A DECADE OR TWO AGO, EVERYTHING FROM CRAB
TO STEAKS TO VEGETARIAN AT A REASONABLE PRICE. AND A GLASS OF WINE
IS A WELCOME BREAK AFTER ALL THAT BEER. HERE IN NORTHERN IRELAND,
AS IN THE REST OF BRITAIN, BED AND BREAKFAST PLACES
OFFER A FINE BUDGET VALUE. BEDROOMS ARE COMFY AS A
HOTEL’S BUT FEEL LIKE HOME. THE INVITING LOUNGE MAKES YOU
FEEL LIKE PART OF THE
FAMILY. AND THE INCLUDED BREAKFAST
IS HEARTY AND COMES WITH A CHANCE
TO MEET THE OTHER GUESTS. [ ba-a-a ] AN HOUR’S DRIVE FROM PORTRUSH,
THE TOWN OF LONDONDERRY, ALSO KNOWN AS DERRY, IS THE
SECOND CITY OF ULSTER. ITS CHARACTERISTIC STREETS
ARE INVITING AND THE TOWN’S HARD-FOUGHT
HISTORY IS EVIDENT IN ITS FORMIDABLE WALL. LIKE BELFAST, DERRY COMES WITH
ALL THE SECURITY TRAPPINGS. STEPHEN McPHILEMY, A DERRY
GUIDE, IS JOINING US. YEARS AGO HE SHOWED MY TOUR
GROUP HIS HOMETOWN. STEPHEN WAS SO GOOD, HE NOW
LEADS MY IRELAND TOURS. STEPHEN, TELL ME ABOUT
THE POLITICAL LAY OF THE LAND. OKAY. EVERYTHING THAT’S
IN THE BACKGROUND THAT’S GREEN IS THE REPUBLIC
OF IRELAND. AND THE RIVER FOYLE,
WHICH IS IN FRONT OF US, IS THE NATURAL BOUNDARY
BETWEEN NORTHERN IRELAND, WHICH IS
ON THIS SIDE, AND THE REPUBLIC
OF IRELAND, WHICH IS
ON THAT SIDE. BUT IN 1921, WHEN THE BRITISH
WERE DIVIDING OUR COUNTRY, THEY WANTED TO HAND
THIS CITY OVER TO THE NEW IRISH
FREE STATE. BUT THE PROTESTANT COMMUNITY
HERE DID NOT WANT THAT. THEY WANTED TO KEEP THE CITY
FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS. SO THE RIVER FOYLE
IS THE NATURAL BOUNDARY, OR THE BORDER, UNTIL IT
COMES TO THE URBAN AREA. THEN IT SWEEPS AROUND
AND ENCOMPASSES THE URBAN AREA OKAY. AND THEN IT BECOMES
THE RIVER AGAIN. THE BORDER IS THE RIVER AGAIN
AT THE END OF THE CITY. PHYSICALLY, THE CITY IS JOINED
WITH THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND, BUT POLITICALLY IT’S
IN NORTHERN IRELAND, AND THAT’S WHY IT’S BEEN SUCH
A HOTBED OF POLITICAL TURMOIL EVER SINCE THE TROUBLE
STARTED BACK IN 1969. NOW YOU CALLED IT
LONDONDERRY OR DERRY? TO THE PROTESTANT COMMUNITY
IT’S VERY PROUDLY LONDONDERRY. NO CATHOLICS IN THE CITY
WOULD ACCEPT THAT TERM, NEVER CALL IT LONDONDERRY. TO THE CATHOLIC HERE,
IT’S ALWAYS DERRY. DERRY IS THE FINEST WALLED
TOWN IN ALL IRELAND, AND VISITORS ARE FREE
TO WALK THE RAMPARTS. THE WALLS WERE BUILT
IN 1613 BY PROTESTANT COLONISTS
FROM THE CITY OF LONDON TO KEEP THEMSELVES SAFE FROM THE NATIVE
IRISH CATHOLICS WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN ALL AROUND
HERE SURROUNDING THE CITY. THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN
HOSTILE TERRITORY FOR THE NEW
PROTESTANT COLONISTS. Rick:
OKAY. SO ABOUT 400
YEARS AGO ENGLISH SETTLERS
BEHIND THESE WALLS? YEAH. EVERYWHERE OUT HERE? NATIVE IRISH CATHOLICS
ALL AROUND THE CITY UP IN THE HIGHLANDS,
THE HILLS, THE VALLEYS,
THE GLENS. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE
WALL, REALLY. YEAH. WE’RE VERY
PROUD OF THEM, RICK. AND IT’S OUR
LITTLE CLAIM TO FAME. WE’RE THE ONLY
COMPLETELY WALLED CITY
IN IRELAND, OR BRITAIN
FOR THAT MATTER. REALLY. STEPHEN’S TAKING
ME TO A PUB. IN SECTARIAN
NEIGHBORHOODS, PUBS ARE PARTICULARLY
SECTARIAN, A HANGOUT FOR EITHER
LOYALISTS OR REPUBLICANS. IN THIS PUB, THE DECOR,
PARTICULARLY THE IRISH FLAG, MAKES THE POLITICS OF THESE
FOLKS PERFECTLY CLEAR. THIS IS A CATHOLIC CROWD. PROTESTANTS CAN FEEL
COMFORTABLE HERE, UNLESS THEY SAY
SOMETHING PROVOCATIVE OR WEAR UNIONIST COLORS
OR SYMBOLS. LEAVE YOUR UNION
JACK AT HOME. A GREAT THING ABOUT CATHOLIC
PUBS: TRADITIONAL IRISH
MUSIC. [ Irish tune ] [ clapping ] Musician:
THANK YOU. [ road noise ] ON A SINGLE DAY OUT
FROM PORTRUSH, WE’LL ENJOY
A WHISKEY DISTILLERY, A GEOLOGICAL WONDER, A BOUNCY ROPE BRIDGE,
AND A RUINED CASTLE. AND IT’S ALL ALONG
A STUNNING COASTLINE. [ seagulls crying ] THE ANTRIM COAST IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR
AND SCENIC DRIVES IN THE WHOLE OF IRELAND. HOMESTEADS ARE PRISTINE. A SHORT DRIVE THROUGH
THIS IDYLLIC FARM COUNTRY MAKES IT CLEAR, TIDINESS
IS A SCOTS-IRISH FORTE. VISITORS EXPLORE
DESOLATE TRAILS… …EVOCATIVE CASTLE RUINS AND DRAMATIC BEACHES. THE ANTRIM COAST IS A POPULAR
VACATION GETAWAY FROM
BELFAST. A ROAD TRIP HERE
COMES WITH FINE SURPRISES, LIKE SHOW-OFF-YOUR-HORSE DAY
AT THE LOCAL RIDING CLUB. BUILD A LITTLE SLACK
INTO YOUR ITINERARY SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY STOP
AND CHECK OUT THE ACTION. ANTRIM TOWNS LIKE BUSHMILLS
ARE SCOTS-IRISH AND DECORATED STRICTLY
PROTESTANT. AND THIS TOWN IS HOME
TO A FAMOUS WHISKEY. BUSHMILLS CLAIMS TO BE THE
WORLD’S OLDEST DISTILLERY. THEY’VE BEEN AT IT
SINCE THE 13th CENTURY. GUESTS ARE WELCOME,
AND TOURS FINISH HERE, IN THE TASTING ROOM. IRISH WHISKEY-MAKERS BRAG
THAT THEIR WHISKEY IS TRIPLE DISTILLED AND THEREFORE SMOOTHER
THAN SCOTCH WHISKEY. THOSE TAKING THE DISTILLERY
TOUR LEARN THIS EMPHATICALLY DURING THE TASTING. FOUR VOLUNTEERS PER TOUR
GET TO TASTE-TEST EIGHT DIFFERENT WHISKEYS. AS YOU’LL COME
TO THE SCOTCH AND IRISH, THE SCOTCH,
AS I’VE TOLD YOU BEFORE, IT IS ONLY
DOUBLE DISTILLED, WHERE THE IRISH
IS TRIPLE DISTILLED. CONGRATULATIONS, FULLY QUALIFIED
IRISH WHISKEY TASTER! THANK YOU. THERE WE ARE. THANK YOU. THE LEADING ATTRACTION
ALONG THE COAST IS THE GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, A FOUR-MILE-LONG STRETCH
OF SHORELINE FAMOUS FOR ITS BIZARRE
ROCK COLUMNS. THE SHORE IS COVERED
WITH HEXAGONAL PILLARS THAT STICK UP
AT VARIOUS HEIGHTS. IT’S AS IF EARTH IS
OFFERING GOD HIS CHOICE OF 37,000 SIX-SIDED
CIGARETTES. THIS WAS A BIG STOP
FOR 19th-CENTURY TOURISTS. EARLY GUIDES GAVE NICKNAMES
TO THE PECULIAR FORMATION, LIKE THE PIPE ORGAN… …AND THE WISHING CHAIR. GEOLOGISTS CLAIM
THAT GIANT’S CAUSEWAY WAS FORMED BY VOLCANIC
ERUPTIONS 60 MILLION YEARS
AGO. AS THE LAVA SURFACE COOLED,
IT CONTRACTED AND CRACKED
INTO HEXAGONAL SHAPES. AND AS THE LAYER OF HARDENED
BUT ALLIGATORED ROCK SETTLED, IT BROKE INTO ITS
MANY STAIR STEPS. Rick:
SO THE SCIENTISTS SAY THIS
IS A GEOLOGICAL FORMATION. AYE, BUT NOBODY HERE
ACTUALLY BELIEVES THAT, RICK. WE BELIEVE THAT THIS WAS
BUILT BY GIANTS 2,000 YEARS AGO: THE GREAT FINN McCOOL,
A LOCAL CHAMPION, AGAINST THE SCOTTISH
PRETENDER, BENNAN DONNER, WHO LIVED OVER HERE
IN THE MULL OF KINTYRE. SO THE SCOTS GUY DECIDES
TO BUILD A CAUSEWAY ACROSS THE OCEAN HERE, 12 MILES,
INSTEAD OF COMING BY BOAT. HE COMES ACROSS
ON HIS CAUSEWAY. HE PLUNDERS AND PILLAGES
A LITTLE BIT HERE. OUR CHAMPION, FINN McCOOL,
WAS A LITTLE BIT NERVOUS BECAUSE OF THE FACT
THAT THE CELTS FOUGHT CHAMPION TO CHAMPION,
NOT NECESSARILY ARMY TO ARMY. SO HIS WIFE DECIDES
TO BUILD A CRADLE THAT’S ABOUT
SEVEN FEET LONG. SHE DRESSES HIM UP
LIKE A LITTLE BABY AND PUTS HIM
IN THE WEE CRADLE. THIS IS ULSTER’S
HARDEST MAN. THE SCOTS GUY COMES ACROSS,
GETS INTO THE CASTLE, GRABS HIS WIFE AND SAYS,
I’M GONNA KILL YOUR HUSBAND. AND SHE SAID TO HIM, SHH,
IF YOU DON’T BE QUIET, YOU’RE GONNA WAKE
MY WEE BABY. AND IF YOU WAKE MY BABY, THEN HIS FATHER’S GOING
TO BE VERY, VERY ANGRY. AND THE SCOTTISH GUY
LOOKS AROUND, SEES THAT THE BABY’S
ACTUALLY SEVEN FOOT LONG AND IS TERRIFIED. AND HE THINKS, OH MY GOD,
IF THE BABY IS SEVEN FOOT LONG, THEN THE FATHER’S GONNA
BE ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE. SO INSTEAD OF WAITING AROUND
TO MEET THE IRISH FATHER, HE RUNS THE WHOLE WAY
BACK TO SCOTLAND AND GETS THE SOLDIERS
TO PULL UP THE CAUSEWAY AND DUMP IT IN THE OCEAN
BEHIND HIM. AND THE PROOF OF THAT STORY
IS WHAT WE’RE STANDING ON RIGHT NOW TODAY. GIANTS OR GEOLOGY,
YOU DECIDE. EITHER WAY, THE GIANT’S
CAUSEWAY IS WELL WORTH A
STOP. [ Irish music ] A FEW MILES FURTHER
UP THE COAST IS A BRIDGE YOU
CAN CROSS. FOR A GREAT LITTLE HIKE, A POWERFUL DOSE
OF ULSTER NATURE AND A FEW BUTTERFLIES
IN YOUR STOMACH, FOLLOW THE TRAIL TO THE CARRICK-A-REDE
ROPE BRIDGE. FOR 200 YEARS, FISHERMEN
HAVE STRUNG A SKINNY BRIDGE ACROSS A CHASM BETWEEN THE
MAINLAND AND A TINY ISLAND. SACRED HEART! THERE SHOULD BE
A BAR OVER HERE! Rick:
EH, I’M STILL
KIND OF QUEASY. [ laughs ] THIS IS THE ROPE BRIDGE
OF ANY KID’S DREAMS. Rick:
SO THE BRIDGE WAS ACTUALLY
BUILT BY FISHERMEN? Stephen:
YEAH. WELL, YOU SEE,
THIS TIME OF YEAR, CROWDS OF BIG,
FAT SALMON ARE GOING AROUND
THE COAST HERE TO GET BACK TO SPAWN
IN THE RIVERS. SO TWO CENTURIES AGO,
THE FISHERMEN REALIZED THIS WAS THE BEST PLACE
TO CATCH THEM, SO THEIR NETS ARE HERE
JUST OFF THE ISLAND. SO TO GET TO THE ISLAND,
THE ROPE BRIDGE WAS BUILT. [ bird cries ] INCREDIBLE PERCH. YEAH, THE BIRDS
LOVE IT. IT’S GREAT — ONE GREAT
BIG BIRD SANCTUARY UP HERE PRETTY MUCH. I MEET BIRD WATCHERS
FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, WHO COME OVER HERE
TO SEE WHAT’S GOING ON, LOOK AT THE BIRDS, LOOK AT THE GULLS,
THE GANNETS, THE RAZORBILLS. BIGGEST PUFFIN
SANCTUARY IN EUROPE IS BEHIND US HERE
ON RATHLIN ISLAND. THE ROMANTIC RUINS
OF DUNLUCE CASTLE, PERCHED DRAMATICALLY ON THE
EDGE OF A ROCKY HEADLAND, ARE A TESTIMONY TO THIS
REGION’S TURBULENT PAST. LOCAL GUIDES ARE EXPERT AT
BRINGING THE RUINS TO LIFE. Rick:
SO THIS WAS A THE HOME
OF A NOBLE FAMILY? Woman guide:
THIS WAS THE HOME
OF THE McDONNELL FAMILY, WHO ORIGINATED
IN SCOTLAND. THEY CAME OVER HERE
AND WORKED THEIR WAY TO THE TOP
OF THE TREE SOCIALLY. AND THIS IS WHERE
THEY HAD THEIR BASE. THIS BIG ROOM HERE? YES. THIS LARGE HALL
WAS BUILT ABOUT THE 1620s, AND THIS IS WHERE
THE McDONNELL EARLS, THE EARLS
OF ANTRIM NOW, WINED AND DINED
AND ENTERTAINED THEIR GUESTS. Rick:
SO THIS IS MORE
THAN A WINDY FORTRESS? Guide:
YES. THIS WAS ACTUALLY A VERY
LUXURIOUSLY APPOINTED PALACE BY THE SEA. THEY HAD TAPESTRIES ON THEIR
WALLS, POSSIBLY WOOD PANELING. THEY HAD REAL PERSIAN CARPETS
ON THEIR FLOORS. THEY HAD FANCY IMPORTED EUROPEAN
FURNITURE AND AN IRISH HARP FOR ENTERTAINING FOR MUSICAL
EVENINGS AFTER DINNER. Rick:
VERY NICE. I CAN IMAGINE
A HARP HERE. DURING THE MIDDLE AGES,
DUNLUCE RESISTED SEVERAL
SIEGES. BUT THEN ON A STORMY NIGHT
IN 1639 DINNER WAS
INTERRUPTED AS THIS END OF THE CASTLE
CRASHED INTO THE SEA, TOOK THE KITCHEN AND SEVERAL
SERVANTS WITH IT. THE LADY OF THE HOUSE, WHO DIDN’T LIKE LIVING
ON THIS WINDY BLUFF ANYWAY, SAID, THAT’S IT. SHE PACKED UP AND MOVED INLAND, ABANDONING DUNLUCE CASTLE
TO THE FORCES OF NATURE. NORTHERN IRELAND,
FROM ITS BLOSSOMING CAPITAL STAINED WITH SECTARIAN
STRUGGLES… …TO ITS CONEY ISLAND
AND NATURAL PLAYGROUNDS… …ITS GEOLOGICAL WONDERS
AND ITS ONGOING CHALLENGES, IS A REWARDING PART OF ANY
EMERALD ISLE EXPERIENCE. I HOPE YOU’VE ENJOYED OUR LOOK
AT THE BEST OF NORTHERN IRELAND. THANKS FOR JOINING US. I’M RICK STEVES. UNTIL NEXT TIME,
KEEP ON TRAVELIN’. COME BACK. [ laughs ] HA, HA, HA,
ACTUALLY…

100 thoughts on “Belfast and the Best of Northern Ireland

  1. Belfast lo maximo estuve en el verano de este año en el mes de julio 2018 desde mi punto de vista debe ser una sola gran nación solo Irlanda y que pertenezca a la Union Europea un saludo desde Lima Peru y claro que volverea a Belfast

  2. Your videos makes me travel the world as you do. But thanks so much you're helping us to see the world by just sitting under a room.

  3. Missed out the 'Boot' at the Giant's Causeway.
    It's a huge stone on the beach shaped like a boot and visitors queue up to have a picture taken on it.
    Can't understand why people crossing the rope bridge were holding on with both hands.
    When I crossed it, it was a windy day and I crossed it walking backwards videoing my daughter crossing while I held my camera with both hands.

  4. I'm FINALLY going to Ireland later this Year and can NOT wait. I've known people who have gone to Ireland and have been green with jealously. Heard how beautiful the Country and Her People are. I think I remember watching this years ago on PBS or TVO (Ontario, Canada).

  5. I live in belfast I can tell u never seeing friendly poeple like in northern ireland respect from Morocco

  6. Yes_ the Mourne mountains,Lough Erne,the Causeway,and the historic cities of Belfast,Armagh and Derry. It's a lot better now than it was say 30 years ago when it was truly the biggest lunatic asylum on the planet.

  7. Overly simplified naturally for your American audience. The Irish who are not the original inhabitants came from Austria the Celts. Centuries later they invited the Normans, who were the Vikings who were routed out of Ireland in 1014 came to be invited in by the Irish! Parlty because they liked the way the Normans had beaten the Anglo Saxons (the English).

  8. I was born in the north of ireland .but brought up in Liverpool England .Ireland was all catholic and its only right it becomes one country God bless Ireland.

  9. I m from India…and I have hardly watch such polite,and detailed description… Thank u..Mr Stevens…ur presentation gives me lot of joy…

  10. 13:38   "Here in Northern Ireland as in the rest of Britain" eh it's Ireland ! not the "rest" of Britain

  11. Politics is the greatest dividing idiocracy of male (mostly) brains…

    POLITICIANS….
    like babies nappies…
    MUST be changed REGULARLY…

    and for the SAME reason…

  12. Hmmmmmm? A BRITISH flag in Northern Ireland? Great Britain's way of attacking Ireland from WITHIN! Ireland SHOULD BE independent of England.

  13. I'm from NI and it really can be a great. You missed out a lot that Co.Down has to offer, Newcastle is a treat in itself nevermind the Mourn Mountains all around.
    Would highly recommend if anyone wants some nature walks an hour from Belfast and plenty of hotels in the area!!

  14. Your an ignoramus there's no country called northern ireland it's fiction but there's a part of Ireland thats the north of Ireland six counties Ulster is nine of them no all.

  15. This was uploaded in 2014 but it was filmed circa early 2000’s because Andersonstown police station @7:24 was demolished in early 2005.. I still enjoyed though, 👍

  16. I love my country but I hate the religious division. In stating that though its positive to see ourselves from someone else's point of view, nice video. ☘️👍

  17. Im born and reared in Belfast and it amazes me that protestants still do not know their history. Glad to see that you know more of their history than they do. Most hail from Scotland 👌😂

  18. Sorry one pet peeve. He introduced the video by lumping Ireland in with "Europe." Europe is a continent. England and Ireland are not. Gets me every time. How did this start up ?

  19. Been to all those places, it's a beautiful island, check out the little museum in Derry, it brought tears to my eyes, I remember watching all the unrest on tv as a teen. I am going back in August this year, can't wait. The food is awesome, the pubs are beautiful, the architecture is beautiful. We don't have historical buildings like that in Canada.

  20. The North of Ireland is a beautiful place there are so many lovely things to do and see l just love Derry, lovely city. The Giants Causeway is simply stunning. It also has some bsautiful beaches lovely place

  21. No union jack hanging outside city hall now ! Its too offensive to hang a countries flag on thier city hall 😂

  22. It's pretty much 50/50 Catholic and protestants…you'd think it was only a third Catholics what with flags and legislation. Sorry, craic killer.

  23. I just came back from NI and I’m already missing the place and people so much. All the comments are right in saying that the people are most friendly and welcoming. And I think it’s the people that you meet make a trip memorable!

  24. I think you might have to check your numbers, the british loyalists and Irish Catholics are almost identical, that's why they dont want a border poll. BTW the UK does not want us either, we are a financial thorn in their side. The conservatives In the UK are so unpopular, they need the loyalist DUP votes, once they have hot what they wanted, they'll drop the Loyalusts like a hot potato !

  25. Anyone who came here for information on Northern Ireland, I can tell you that this is all rather outdated, so look into more recent videos or websites to plan a trip or write an essay. Most buildings pictured have been demolished, or have burned down. We have also moved on a lot from the troubles, which can’t be seen here as it could only have been filmed about 7 years after the Good Friday Agreement (the OFFICIAL end of the troubles) 21 years after the agreement, we’ve moved on so that the troubles are mostly history, instead of the extreme divide seen in this video. Also the weather isn’t even nearly this nice, pack warm clothes

  26. Sorry to point out your ignorance but you repeatedly refer to the 'Union Jack' the flag you refer to is actually the Union Flag…it's only referred to as the 'Union Jack' when flown from the Jackstaff on a Royal Navy vessel.

  27. Complete lies and propoganda about Derry / Londonderry…the actual border is several miles from the River Foyle in all directions.

  28. I was in Portrush yesterday and in (London)derry a couple of days ago for the first time. Currently I'm around my in-laws who live in Co. Down. Even in the short time this video was made things have moved on …, although I don't believe the border has moved, so that guys claim that the walled (London)derry is the UK on one side of the river and across the otherside is Eire (The Republic) is utter bull …, that guide of yours is a republican who might wish it were but it doesn't make it so …, that's a fact, no bull.

  29. The Irish and the Scots were originally one
    Something All Of Ulster are quick to forget
    Forgive and Love One Another ❇
    Commands Thy L-rd Thou One True G-d

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