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City hall

Belfast city hall is at the center of downtown. Belfast is very different from Dublin. Dublin is more like St Petersburg, Russia. Nineteenth-century mansions with huge staircases packed close together, people walking about 24 hours a day, the kind of place you can dream and write a novel in. Pushkin would be at home there; Joyce of course was.

Belfast is utilitarian and sleepy. The architecture is Victorian, "the other face of the nineteenth century". The streets are much wider than Dublin (four lanes as you can see) even though the population is much smaller (300,000 as opposed to over a million). Downtown is deserted by 5:30pm. The only nightlife is a tiny bit in south Belfast, where a few bars cater to the students at Queen's University. (East Belfast is industrial but with some residential areas. North Belfast seems to consist of almost nothing but my hostel. West Belfast is where the two infamous sectarian neighborhoods are.)

Belfast, Northern Ireland -- June 2000

Copyright © 1999-2004 by Mike (Sluggo) Orr
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