I had a thoroughly enjoyable time at Refresh Belfast. I enjoy any opportunity to geek out about building Huffduffer in front of a captive audience. This captive audience seemed to actually enjoy it. It seems like Belfast has a pretty vibrant geek scene.
It was my first time being in Northern Ireland, which is somewhat shameful given that I grew up in Ireland. Belfast felt a little strange to me; an equal split of where I grew up (Ireland) and I where I live now (England). But mostly, it has a character all its own.
Andy took great care of me while I was in town, showing me the sights. We took a black cab tour ‘round the city. The historical part of the tour was informative and the political part was …um… interesting.
Do you want to get out and take pictures? asked the cab driver. Somehow, taking snapshots on Shankhill Road just didn’t sit right with me. It’s not exactly ancient history. It reminded me of when I was last in Berlin where tourists now have the opportunity to have their picture taken with a fake East German border guard. I didn’t take any pictures of the murals.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not waxing nostalgic. I’ll take present-day slightly tacky tourism over the utterly tacky violence of the past.
Still… to the woman sitting next to me on the flight home, carrying a bodhrán emblazoned with the faces of the hunger strikers: lady, that is socially unacceptable on so many levels.