These are photos from the phenomenal Blackcab political tour of The Troubles with the legendary Billy Scott. This guy is a pro. All of the testimonials on his website are exactly how I experienced his tour.

He told me the tour was going to be about 1 ½-2 hours. It took 3 hours and 40 minutes! He really took his time with me. All for only £30! I wanted to give him a £5 tip, but he didn’t have a £5 note, so I told him he could give me his €5 note because I was going to Europe soon. He was happy that I helped him get the Euro out of his hands!

This was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Thanks for your interest in my photos and stories from The Troubles.

Click on any photo below to enlarge.

Notice it says “abortion rights now” behind that black box. This is another example of one of the political battles between the Protestants and the Catholics in Northern Ireland.

In the middle of our black taxi cab tour, we drove past The Kremlin, a gay bar. It has a statue of Vladamir Lenin, a man who executed tens of thousands of people, took hostages, sent tens of thousands to concentration camps, deported countless people, and much, much more. Lenin laid the foundation for Stalin, a man who killed up to 61 million people by some estimates. I don’t understand why so many people in Europe look up to people like Lenin, Stalin, Marx, Trotsky, and others. Can you imagine what people would say if a business opened called “Auschwitz” and had a statue of Hitler giving his famous Nazi Salute? Certainly, not many would patronize a business like that, so why do so many go to Communist-themed establishments? “Insensitive” is a far too generous a label for these businesses.

This mural is extremely well-known. Stevie “Top Gun” McKeag was a Commander in the Ulster Defence Association, a Protestant, pro-Union paramilitary/vigilante group. To UDA supporters, he was a hero. To others, he was a murderer responsible for at least 12 killings, as well as a womanizer (apparently, he had four kids with four different women). According to my tour guide, he became too popular with supporters, won too many awards, and was getting too much recognition. So, the leadership killed him because they didn’t want him to take over the UDA. There’s something else of great importance here. On the left side, there are two, masked gunman pointing rifles at your face. As you walk from right to left, or left to right, you’ll notice an optical illusion of the barrels of the guns following you – showing you that there’s no escape from the UDA.

This is another picture that looks completely harmless, but has a story. This street divides the two sides. Notice the walls on either side of the road. My tour guide said that people used to throw pipe bombs, molotov cocktails, and other projectiles over the road. I made a comment like, “I can’t imagine what that must’ve been like.” My guide paused, hesitated, and said, “well, sometimes you’ll still see people throwing things over the street even now.”

There’s a story of corruption here. Please excuse me for not remembering the exact story. I believe this building was run down and condemned, then homeless people started sleeping there, then the city sold the building to a developer for £1, then a “mysterious” fire destroyed the building, which gave the developer a big insurance settlement. Now the developer wants to destroy the building and put something else in its place.

The men on this mural were originally painted wearing black masks. Over the years, people complained and said likes along the lines of “only terrorists hide behind masks, show us your real faces”. So, the artist went back to the mural and painted over the masks, showing smiling, happy, friendly terrorists, instead of the masked men.

We’ve all gone to the ATM before, but probably not one quite like this before. To the right of the ATM is a dedication to the lives that were lost from a terrorist attack next to the ATM. There are many of these dedications all over Belfast.

Another example of a community that’s still not quite ready to feel safe. Every night, these gates are closed and re-opened in the morning. To the right is one of several Peace Walls that divide Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists.

One of several Peace Walls separating the Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists.

Pro-war neocon, David Haass, went to Belfast in 2013 to broker peace talks. They were not fans of Haass. This graffiti reads “stick haass up your ass”. The Haass-chaired peace talks broke with no resolution.

My tour guide pulled over to let me make a contribution to one of the Peace Walls. I wrote “Do your best to produce a peaceful, nonviolent society -NH, USA”.

Another example of a community that’s still not quite ready to feel safe. Every night, these gates are closed and re-opened in the morning. To the right is one of several Peace Walls that divide Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists.

This picture is crucial to understanding Belfast. To the left, you can see one of the Peace Walls that divide Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists. To the right, apartments. In the middle are cages that protect the apartments from projectiles that were thrown over the wall in the past. As you can see, the resident of the nearest apartment had their cage removed as a show of trust. However, as you can also see, their neighbor hasn’t followed their lead… yet.

These people were part of a larger tour of The Troubles. This is a memorial to Catholic Nationalists who were killed by Protest Unionists.

Probably the most famous mural of them all.

This is another crucial photo. On the right, you can see probably the most famous mural of one of the most famous casualties of The Troubles, Bobby Sands, a volunteer for the Catholic Nationalist IRA. He died from a hunger strike while he was in prison. On the left, you can see that this mural is painted, not on an ordinary building, but on the headquarters for Sinn Fein, currently the second strongest political party in Northern Ireland. It’s commonly known that Sinn Fein is the political wing of the IRA.

A commentary on capitalism, imperialism, wars, refugees, the US military, NATO, and the EU.

A Catholic Nationalist group memorial to communist Fidel Castro.

Not all murals are negative. Some have a more positive, hopeful tone.

A mural promoting the idea of man-made global warming stands next to one showing solidarity between Catholic Nationalists and Palestinians.

On the left is a mural featuring Patrick Douglas, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Bob Marley, and others. On the right, an example of some of the more modern murals, which include the URLs of their websites and social media.

Another example of a gate along a Peace Wall that closes at night and re-opens in the morning.

On the left, “Equality can’t wait #BuildHomesNow”, with links to their social media. On the right, a mural advertising the Worker’s Party (a Communist party).

On the left, a mural showing solidarity with, Abdullah Ocalan, a communist political leader from Kurdistan who’s imprisoned in Turkey. In the middle, a mural about language rights. On the right, another dedication to communist, Fidel Castro.

Another communist mural from Catholic Nationalists.

More communist murals from Catholic Nationalists.

On the left, a mural that says Nelson Mandela is a “freedom lover”. In the middle, a call to free Tony Taylor, a political prison who’s being held on weapons charges. On the right, a dedication to those who died in the Orlando gay night club terrorist attack.

“It is not those who can inflict the most, but those that can suffer the most who will conquer”, a quote from Terence MacSwiney, a political prisoner who died from a hunger strike during the 1920 Irish War for Independence.

Like many parts of Europe, some people in Northern Ireland have an appreciation for communism.