At the risk of promoting the cliches, here are the 4 things I’m reading over and over as I learn about Belfast…

1.  Claim to Fame:  Famous citizens of Belfast include C.S. Lewis, Van Morrison and Chaim Herzog (the former President of Israel).  U2’s signature song “Sunday Bloody Sunday(Isn’t this a blast from the past for all you children of the 80s?  Rock that mullet, Bono!) is about…

2.  The Troubles:  a period of rioting and conflict in Northern Ireland (especially Belfast) between 2 groups that self-identify as British/Protestant/unionist/loyalist or Irish/Catholic/nationalist/republican, lasting from 1969 until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.  Today, the city is still separated by peace walls that physically divide the two groups, primarily in the north and western parts of the city, although some integration is occurring.  This year has seen some violence.  My Smarter Cities Challenge will create a roadmap for integration of city services in these historically divided communities.

Never you fear (I’m looking at YOU, Mom, Dad and Steve), it is totally safe and any demonstrations have to be registered with the city.  Happily, there’s been a…

3.  Resurgence:  Since the 1998 peace agreement, Belfast has made significant social, cultural and economic investments and it’s becoming a center for culture and tourism in the UK, due in part to the….

4.  Titanic:  The doomed oceanliner was built in Belfast at the Harland and Wolff shipyard.  A new museum opened in March 2012 and the historic Titanic Quarter has been a magnet for tourists.

How about that?  Some Irish trivia for your day…  cheers!  #smartercities Challenge

 

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