My first today looks at a town I’ve heard about my entire life. Belfast, Ireland. I grew up hearing about it during the troubles in Northern Ireland. Since I started my journey of firsts, I’ve been opened up to many things, one in particular is my family history. Since I was born, we moved around with my father in the Royal Air Force. We did visit with my grandparents on the occasions when we were in the UK albeit didn’t spend a lot of time with them.
My mother’s father is William Nolan. And, I recently learned that he was originally from Belfast in the Emerald Isle. So, for tonight, I opted for my first to be to have a closer look at Belfast.
The site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age. It remained a settlement of minor importance until the Middle Ages when John de Courcy built a castle in the 12th century. It became a more major settlement in the 17th century when settled by English Protestants and Scottish migrants.
The 18th and 19th centuries were prosperous as industry flourished. Linen, tobacco, rope making, heavy engineering and ship building. The Titanic was built there, establishing Belfast as one of the premier ship building areas.
The Troubles continued as violence flared in the country. Thankfully, that has subsided and there is now peace.
Belfast is part of two counties: County Antrim and County Down, on the eastern seaboard. It is flourishing today and is now on my list of places I want to visit and further explore my family history.