The Falls Road

Friday, April 4th 2008

I spent the week around the university, meeting other astronomers, giving a talk, watching friends' talks, and checking out local drinking and eating venues. All my friends from UCL went back to London on the Thursday or Friday, but I wasn't heading back until Sunday. I went out to explore the city properly on the Saturday, and headed out to the Falls Road.

Throughout my life, news had often been dominated by the Troubles. I'd heard so much about the terrible things that had happened in Northern Ireland. In the centre of the city, there was nothing to show what struggles the city had seen, but the Falls Road was a different matter. As I walked out of the city centre, past the Divis Tower where British army snipers once watched over the surroundings, the past became more and more visible.

Here, and on the protestant Shankill Road, there are a lot of murals. They began to appear when the Troubles started in the late 1960s, and thousands have been painted over the years. The murals along the Falls Road reminded me of the murals I'd seen in León, in Nicaragua, which depicted the history of the struggles there.

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