But the fear that the jail had been burnt down, did make me think about that where ever you go in Northern Ireland you have reminders of the troubles. But what can we do to these buildings and places that are reminders of the troubles? Simple solution- bulldoze them all! But some are buildings that have a far longer history than just being reminders of the troubles. Sir Charles Lanyon who also built Belfast Castle and Queens University built the Crumlin Road Courthouse.
It was to become a luxury boutique hotel- but many wanted it be kept as reminder of the troubles.
But the trouble is that there are very few places that both Loyalist and Republican sides can agree on that they want keeping. The Maze Prison being one example, the Government would like to see it as a home to a new national sports stadium but the Republican side would like part of the prison turned into a museum. Both side’s prisoners were kept in the Maze but it is the Republicans who hold it as a ‘holy’ place –thanks to the 1981 hunger strike.
One thing that bots sides can agree on is the keeping of the street murals. You can now take a bus ride of the Falls Road and the Shankhill, to see examples of this political/troubles inspired art.
But there are more than two sides involved here – not just the Republican/Nationalist and Loyalist sides, what about the soldiers and those who had no part in the troubles.
How many soldiers would like to see the observation Post on the top of Divis Flats re- built, as a military museum? Only joking but for many of my friends the now long gone North Howard Street Mill and Fort Whiterock in West Belfast are buildings and locations that they will never forget.
Then we have the Observation Towers now torn down in South Armagh and the famous Baruki Observation Post in Crossmaglen.