3 Reasons to Visit Ireland Today: The Troubles, the Titanic and Seafood

An adventure in history, culture and travel

Cat Strav


The author shows her appreciation for art, seafood and Belfast on the Maritime Mile. Photo by D.Barna used with permission.

If dark misery, grey weather and a helping of mediocre food is your idea of Belfast, U.K. — think again.

I found amazing seafood, strong appreciation for culture and a living history with a flight across the Atlantic. Belfast is a vibrant and provocative visit.

I blame it all on a book.

I always do. Books have been the catalyst for every adventure in my life and this one is no different.

I read “Say Nothing” and could not believe it. I kept checking to make sure it was non-fiction; it seemed unbelievable. How could this be true? I kept asking myself as I read it. I could not put it down.

I gave a copy to my son. He had the same experience and kept texting me as he read it.

One of his texts read, “We have to go to Ireland!”

So we did.

The Troubles

The book focuses on the murder of Jean McConville, the mother of 10 children, but it delves into the history of conflict and the participation of other women in the Troubles, which have occurred for centuries in Northern Ireland.

The book prompted us to tour the Crumlin Road Gaol or jail and take a Black Cab tour, which is driven by someone who gives first-hand experience of their involvement in the conflict.

The mural in the background is in memory of Bobby Sands, who died while on a hunger strike resisting the British. Photo of author (who looks like she was crying, because she was!) and son, used with permission.

The tour of the “peace” murals and hearing a first-person account of the Troubles is unsettling and on-going, despite the relatively recent peace accord.

Why go to such a place? Tourists who only visit Disney World or New York City when they come to the United States have no real understanding of our country.

I do not want to be that type of tourist when I travel. I want the full monty, the deepest experience, but also I believe what George Santayana said:

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.



Cat Strav

Yogi. Wordsmith. Hutch Pup. Diagnosed with I.O. (idiotic optimism) since an early age.