Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland; home to 286,000 inhabitants (650,000 in the greater Metropolitan area). It is the region’s economic powerhouse but remains a deeply divided city. An industrial city, Belfast was once given the title ‘Linenopolis’ as it was the largest producer of linen in the world during much of the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the most famous ship of them all was built in Belfast, the Titanic.
There is no doubt that Belfast has come a long way from the height of The Troubles, the ethno-political conflict that lasted from 1969 to the mid-1990s and which plagued Northern Ireland costing over 3,500 lives. Today Belfast City is a bustling centre of trade and commerce with a thriving music, arts and café scene. Still, there are 99 barriers that prevent movement between adjoining districts in the city.
Think street art and Dublin, the Irish capital, doesn’t spring to mind immediately, but the city has been undergoing somewhat of a transformation in recent years. No longer an underground activity, street art, graffiti, mural painting—call it what you will—has now become more than acceptable with businesses, arts organizations and Dublin City Council sponsoring and promoting artists. (more…)