Anti-Americanism, safety in Belfast?

Jun 29th, 2004, 04:27 PM
  #1  
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Anti-Americanism, safety in Belfast?

A travel agent told me that people in Belfast dislike Americans and that she didn't think it was safe to go there anyway. Has anyone had any experiences to support this view or the opposite? Thanks.
jindanz is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 05:07 PM
  #2  
 
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In May we took a taxi from the Belfast ferry station to Hertz at the Belfast airport. I was terrified when the taxi driver spent 20 minutes helping us plan our route...pouring over the map....directing us on the most scenic route.
Thank god we weren't wearing our
""God bless Bush"" sweatshirts!!

I wonder how much time the travel agent spent in Northern Ireland?
Bailey is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 05:50 PM
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My advice, find a travel agent that actually travels(Somewhere besides mexico and the carribean).
Or skip using one all together.

I have not been northern Ireland. but we were in paris last may and everyone told us that the french will spit on us. Well, they spit words like "Thanks for visiting france" and "have a beer on the house"
dgruzew is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 05:57 PM
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We didn't stop in Belfast, but arrived and caught a bus north to Antrim. We didn't have any problems. The sectarian murals and graffiti were disconcerting for us, but that was our problem. Northern Ireland and especially the Antrim coast is wonderful. Check out the Glenariff Forest Park if you get a chance. And change travel agents.
Danna is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 06:06 PM
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ALso drove the Antrim Coast last year and stayed the night in Londonderry, where the hotelier spent an hour regaling us with tales of the Americans who headquartered in her hotel during WWII and whose survivors return every year. Don't let uninformed travel agnets steer you away from places they don't know (and maybe toward places where they can maximize commissions??)based upon a vague concern about "Anti-Americanism." There's plenty of anti-Bushism there (as here) but most Europeans - especially those in the tourist trade - know enough to separate a government's policy from its people. And there is still a reservoir - maybe not as deep as it once was - of fondness for les Americains all over Europe as well as the UK.
3gigs is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 06:46 PM
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While, admittedly, not having spent much time in Belfast and NI, I have run across nothing I couldn't handle in the "Big, Bad American"-bias category.

I have no doubt however that there is such bias there (as there probably is in many disparate locations throughout Europe) so perhaps you may want to read the following for a little balance:

http://www.ulsterflash.iofm.net/antiusa.htm

Wherever you go, there is no reason to be ashamed of explaining your outlook when a challenge arises.


KS452 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 08:13 PM
  #7  
 
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The best thing that we can do to great rid of the Anti-American feeling is to GET RID of Crawford Shrub!
tresgatos is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 10:48 PM
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"The best thing that we can do to great rid of the Anti-American feeling"
is to qite muddling in self hatred. This is the second post tonight that covers a topic of this ilk. Perhaps, it really isn't them.

I agree with, "find a travel agent that actually travels".

mcgeezer is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 11:01 PM
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Even at the height of the Troubles, the murder rate in Belfast was lower than in Washington DC (and petty theft virtually non-existent). It's now a great deal safer.

Just about the only thing "people in Belfast" agree about is that the English are a bunch of interfering busybodies who don't understand Northern Ireland. There is virtually nothing else it's possible to make generalisations about - except that many local people are so wrapped up in their own politics they rarely have much mental space left for being anti-anything else.

Belfast, by the standards of these islands, has a great deal of organised crime - though that doesn't impact casual visitors, except in a perverse way to inhibit pickpockets, muggers and the like.

In the outer reaches of the Unionist fringe, there is anti-Americanism: don't get talking politics (or anything)anywhere there are lots of Glasgow Rangers supporters, or a high density of English or Israeli flags (British flags, OTOH, indicate mainstream, rarely threatening, Unionism: membership of the ethnic group that dominated the printing and signing of your declaration of independence, and traditionally predisposed to being pro-American).

Ulster, sadly, has seen more hate in the past 30 years than practically anywhere else in western Europe. Americans have never been on the receiving end of that, and the words you attribute to your TA are absolute nonsense.

Just remember, though, that the Troubles aren't totally over yet, and 3000 deaths leave far more than 3000 scars. Somewhere in Belfast, there's likely to be someone blaming the US for something they've suffered. There will be far fewer than the number blaming us English or Irish, and the thought doesn't deter us from travelling to the province and having a great time.

But tact and discretion are more important here than in most other places.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 01:31 AM
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Please tell me this is a joke..Ann41 are you up yet please tell thim what a joke that is. There have been several posts like this about the same topic....
people are more concerned going about their daily business than waiting to shout anti-American things at you. Be ready for banter and debate why not that's hopw we all start tounderstand eachother but stop worrying and go on holiday.
SiobhanP is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 02:07 AM
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jindanz: Your T/A is an idiot.
mgmargate is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 02:18 AM
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I note that this is your first post. I live just outside Belfast and I know your travel agent is talking nonsence. I have Americans who visit every year and they always have a great time. Are you thinking of coming to Belfast?
Best wiches Joyce
ice is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 02:34 AM
  #13  
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Well, I suppose that you might get into trouble if you loudly announced in an American accent that you were Irish, but that annoys Southern Irish people too.
I wouldn't advise wearing an "Up the IRA" tee-shirt in an Orange pub ;-)
The last time I was in NI, there had been an English opinion poll which came out very much in favour of a united Ireland and ditching NI for ever.
As an Englishman, all I got was, "Ah, so you want to get rid of us, do you? Can't say I blame you!"
Seriously, you'll be fine.
 
Jun 30th, 2004, 03:47 AM
  #14  
 
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Does anyone else discern a pattern in a number of recent posts like this, in which anti-Americanism or the possibility thereof is attributed to some European country (France, Germany, Spain and Ireland to date, at least)? Invariably they generate a slew of replies to the contrary, and also invariably the original poster is never heard from again.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 04:40 AM
  #15  
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Jindanz, your travel agent is full of it. I found the people of Belfast and the rest of NI to be among the friendliest in the world. And it IS safe to go there.

I'm willing to bet that your TA has not only never been to NI, but doesn't know anyone who has. Tell her she needs to change careers, she has no business dispensing such worthless travel advice.
P_M is online now  
Jun 30th, 2004, 05:03 AM
  #16  
 
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Just saw the post, Siobhan. Your travel agent is an idiot, jindanz. I wouldn't trust her to book a table.

I'm an American living in Northern Ireland. I used to live in Belfast, before the Good Friday agreement, and felt completely safe.

Because people are so uninformed on NI, most tourists head to the Republic of Ireland, leaving us with mainly experienced travelers and tourists, so people aren't sick to death of seeing yet another coach-load of American senior citizens clogging up the streets of their village.

Most people here have been to American (although mainly Orlando, unfortunately) and like to talk about it to Americans. They do like to discuss the current situation in Iraq, but they just are interested in my views, not condeming me for being an American.

There is no more anti-American sentiment here than there is in Ohio.

Northern Ireland is the best part of Ireland, and you're much safer here than you are in America.
Ann41 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 07:19 AM
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My wife and I have been to Armagh in North and drove from there to Derry and up to Northwest coast (Killybegs) and found no hostility from any of the natives.
oberost is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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I agree with the other posters on saying your TA is an idiot. I quit using TA's a long time ago. I have traveled to Europe several times since the war started and I have had ZERO problems there. As SiobhanP states most people are just concerned with going about their daily business. The people of Europe that I have met are the best.
I, too, am getting tired of seeing these posts about anti-Americanism. If you are so worried about it stay home and leave Europe for the rest of us who know what a great place it is to take a holiday.
rj007 is offline  

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