The VICE Guide to Belfast

The VICE Guide to Belfast

Ratings: 7.35/10 from 17 users.

The VICE Guide to BelfastThere was a time when the conflict in Northern Ireland suffused popular culture, with its easily explicable cast of Catholics and Protestants and its deceptively simple narrative of joining the Republic of Ireland versus remaining under the protective wing of Great Britain. The IRA loomed large - an irregular force giving the Brits hell, a pre-Al Qaeda byword for terrorism.

But in 1998, after a furious but low-intensity war that claimed almost 3,700 victims over 30 years, the two sides suddenly called it a draw. Political representatives of paramilitary groups and mainstream political parties hammered out the Good Friday Agreement, outlining a cessation of major sectarian violence, the decommissioning of weapons, and the release of prisoners affiliated with groups like the IRA and its unionist analogue, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

There would be no land swaps, no significant concessions made to those demanding a united Ireland, just a tenuous and long-overdue peace process. It marked, as an Irish journalist once told me, the effective surrender of the IRA.

But in the unionist communities of east Belfast and nationalist enclaves of west Belfast—working-class areas where militant sectarianism is one of few birthrights—there is little sense of peace and much talk of being sold out by the tea-drinking politicians.

And every year on July 12, when unionists of the Orange Order celebrate the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James by marching through Belfast, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Troubles never ended.

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57 Comments / User Reviews

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  1. Sandra

    This mayhem has nothing to do with religion or history. It has everything to do with teenage boys' testosterone levels mixed with alcohol and ignorance -- on both sides. You'd think it would thin out the ranks of the mentally challenged, but not so much. You'd also think the older people would just get sick of it, but they seem invested in the perpetuation of violence and wallow around nursing age-old grudges. What stupidity.

  2. apaulocreed

    You were told that Protestants don't like to talk to the media?...Oh no,no,no I think Protestants just did not like you Mr Jibberish!.At the start of the Documentary I presumed he had just finished a session with a bong but as he proceeded to go more and more 'elegante' with the lingo obviously as a constant effort to impress all I could watch no more and had to let it be.If someone's doing such documentaries should they not try to maintain the audiences interest in it & not inflict traumatic flashbacks of the most dreaded/boring classes as a kid upon them?......& Hell Yeah ~ Protestants DO like to talk and that's one of the many main features that kept the troubles going on for so long!!!

  3. John Smith

    have to blame the brits! they mess up everywhere ireland, india, china, africa and loads of other places.

  4. Robert Fairhurst

    Again another brilliant report from Vice, you can always rely on them to let the people tell the story rather than giving their own opinions. It is a crying shame the situation there. Something so petty and so indoctrinated into the people that can cause fellow citizens to hate each other with such a passion. I am sure that a huge part of the population is against both sides and would prefer peace to reign, but it is sad that the minority has to create these problems.

    It was so sad when the Catholic ex-IRA guy was speaking about the kids who got killed in the 70s. Yes it was terrible, but surely it is time to move on now. There will only ever be more deaths and misery until this stupidity stops. Both sides appear to be carrying out their actions, not through any religious conviction, but just to spite the other side

  5. aviddocwatcher

    Please don't think that everyone in Northern Ireland is represented here. A large proportion of people leave Belfast during the marching season, not wanting anything to do with this mess. Those who remain are looking for a bit of entertainment in the form of a fight and are joined by others from outside, eg. Glasgow also in search of a bit of trouble. By the tone of the presenter's speeches to the camera as he leads the parade it seems that's what he was looking for too. Shame on him. The presenter could have done at least the tiniest bit of research before visiting N.Ireland, but by the way he seems shocked by even the most widely known information he clearly didn't. Constant use of the labels Catholic and Protestant when it would have been much more appropriate to use unionist and nationalist or loyalist and republican is annoying at the least. The IRA was not a Catholic Paramilitary group. If you can get past all this though, there are a few interesting scenes; the former UDF member seems to be the only few people talking sense with his analysis of the situation, its relationship to identity and the hurdles to peace which involves giving up the feeling of self-esteem that is not so easy to find in working class communities in Belfast.

  6. arthur Cahoon

    @IrishKev So by your logic your saying North Korea is part of South Korea, America is part of Canada, Portugal is part of Spain etc, etc. You know, because they are connected on the map?

  7. Juraj Filkorn

    the solution would be to find a third power which would oppress both sides indiscriminately so they would find common enemy. kind of what is happening in Iraq. NOOOT! :D

  8. N

    Ignorance is taught. There youth is has been stolen. religion=hatred

  9. N

    No religion, know peace. The church is stagnant, science moves foreword.

  10. davy11

    think most people up in belfast want 2 move on from the troubles. but their is always goin 2 be violence during marching season P. S. never realized there was so many irish on this site. up the deise

  11. Greg_Mc

    I was going to complain about a comment that was posted that had a nasty word in it, but it seems that it was caught and deleted.

    What pi$$ed me off about this doc was that the so called grown ups seem to raise their kids with a hatred for either the Catholics or Protestants. It starts from the time the kids can speak (probably before) and they learn all these nasty slogans or phrases and repeat them as gospel. Then when asked what they mean the kids have no idea, they just repeat what their parents taught them and believe it to be true and then act on it. With this kind of retarded upbringing the kids have no chance of growing up as decent people (I know they aren't all bad people but too many are). Hopefully when they are grown up more and more of them realize how stupid it is, but I doubt enough will do so quick enough to actually end the cycle anytime soon.

    The grown ups apparently get the teenagers all riled up (and very drunk, the age of some of the drunk kids was a little sickening, I don't need to see a 10 or 12 year old ****faced) and filled with hatred then sit back as the kids go out and attack the police. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

    Having said that the parade follows a certain route for some old reason i do not remember the significance of, but we all know a one reason it is done is for no other reason than to basically say F you to the Catholics and piss them off while they walk through their neighbourhood (really whether you act on it or not that will piss you off). Childish.

    Maybe if they were ignored for a few years they would stop .... but thinking about it they wouldn't stop they would say they won and publically call the Catholics more names for backing down (when in fact what they would be doing was being grown up and sensible about it).

    The problem is (obviously this is just an outsiders view, I haven't lived it so no I cannot properly understand it) it has been going on for so long and so many really horrible things have happened that those who have lived through parts of it can't forgive and forget. Maybe in a few generations the hatred will subside somewhat, we can hope anyway because there has been enough violence already and that clearly hasn't solved the problems.

    What would solve the problem? Not a clue, far smarter people than I have tried to find the answer with no success.

    Maybe one day, probably the same day Israel and Palestine start to get along.

  12. Helen

    @Epicurus That is my surname.. The alehouse burntdown 65 years ago sadly. Me mam was drunk and left a lit candle on. Dewflirt, thats not your grandaddy mo chara, thats the postman.

    1. dewflirt

      Postmaster general ;)

  13. ulickmcgee

    thiocfaidh ar la, our day will come

  14. candidate_chimp

    Vice's who's who of has been and up and coming sectarian thugs.

  15. Matthew

    I recently had someone from Ireland tell me that, in their opinion, the place was a "third-world shithole". I didn't believe her at the time. After seeing this doc, I'm not so sure any more.

    1. Barzee

      Watch a doc about the Congo or Mexico or Brazil or India....I could go on, then you will see what a real "third-world shithole" is. Did you not notice the designer gear the youth were covered from head to toe in?

    2. Irishkev

      There are plenty of first world shitholes too Matthew.

  16. phillip wong

    pure rednecks

    1. Barzee

      Rednecks...? What doc were you watching?

    2. phillip wong

      What do you think? These people behave like animals, and ought to be put in jail.

    3. Irishkev

      They do go to jail, and many on both sides see it as an honour to go to jail for their community.

    4. phillip wong

      Sure, you do. I am sure you have their best interest in mind.

    5. dmxi

      rednecks?some of your comments give the notion that you have an issue with 'whitey'?just for your comfort....we (the irish) were labeled 'the n.ggers' of europe' & in the list of unwanted guests in pubs & other public houses,we made the last of the list:
      no dogs
      no blacks
      no irish
      so mellow down & give an irish brother some rest..........

    6. urban deadite

      you forgot Gypsies on those signs too

  17. Irishkev

    I didn't really understand the logic of the large Canadian Orangeman who flies thousands of miles to take part in a redundant triumphalist parade, and then says it's not his fight. Don't support this anachronism with your presence, ya douche.

    1. Greg_Mc

      I didn't understand wtf the Canadians were doing there either, on behalf of the rest of Canada please feel free to keep the m*rons.

      They as you said Kev flew thousands of miles got all dressed up in their halloween costumes , went right into the middle of it and claim it's not his fight. Douche was a good choice of words, it was like he got dressed up in his team colours and went to a sporting event. I was hoping a molitov cocktail was going to come flying out of no where and bounce of his empty head.

  18. Notblindedbytheright

    This doc raises a lot of questions. Like what was on that kid's face?

    1. dewflirt

      Check out the rubberbandits, I've a horse outside :)

  19. dewflirt

    My dad's from Limerick, do any of you guys know him? :)

    1. Irishkev

      Ah bejasus, how is old Dadflirt keeping these days ?

    2. dewflirt

      Got himself a young nurse and is practising all kinds of sin by a river in France ;)

    3. Irishkev

      Fair play, sounds like a real Limerick lad alright. Any young nurses going spare over there?

    4. dewflirt

      How old are you? She'll probably outlive by 30 years, never know your luck. I can hardly believe his ;)

    5. Irishkev

      Ha, I'm 42, and feeling lucky,

    6. dewflirt

      You're in with a shot then, keep fit!

    7. Irishkev

      I'm digging out my running shoes, lol.

    8. dewflirt

      That's it boy, she likes 'em keen!

    9. Epicurus

      my grandmother is from Limerick. Apparently there is still in a pub in limerick owned by one of my relatives. Its called Peter Clohessy's and that is my grandmothers maiden name.

    10. dewflirt

      6 degrees of separation! If she was the landlady while my grandad was alive I can pretty much guarantee he knew her, he could sniff out whiskey at a thousand paces and probably tell you the make. The Irish are taking over the world by stealth! If you check out a book by Matthew Potter you can see my great great...... Grandad :)

  20. drinker69

    The Vice guide to Runfast

  21. PavolvsBitch

    There is one line appropriate to this mess and that is the set up 'opposition' or controlled opposition of the 'Jesus vs St John' brigade. The Vatican Catholic/Jesuit/Judaic Front promote 'Jesus/Hesus/He Is Us? whilst the branch, The Protestant/Anglican Rosicrusion Front drive the 'right to rule' King James Faction which is one and the same as the Catholic/Jesuit front. Scots were implanted in Northern Ireland to hold fort for the King Jame's factions, whilst the displaced Irish from the North were sent alongside their fellows in the South to the plantations of Barbados, Jamaica, Virginia.

    Two wings of the same vulture. North and South: Protestant vs Catholic, Vatican vs City of London when in fact they all work together.

    William of Orange aka William de Bastarde! bypassed the Edict of Explusion by allowing the free passage of Jews within the Kingdom under royal protection. The Edict has never been revoked. But it allowed the floodgates of infestation. With William ascending the throne (royal toilet seat from which to shit on the rest of us) as a Jew-Ish imposter descendant of Wm of Orange and his 'Eve' dolly Goldsmidt jewess queen of ..... (hearts Diana, Diamonds, Lil, leaves spades and clubs) Clubs! Sour faced silent yid is Princess of Spades! Multicultural England.

    The Irish, above any other race on Earth has just cause to rebel, revolt and see these sick effers swing.

  22. dmxi

    i loved this quote:
    ''The IRA loomed large—an irregular force giving the Brits hell, a pre-Al Qaeda byword for terrorism.''
    still can't work out what the 'author' is actually trying to convey?
    ira = al-qaeda ?
    war against opression = terrorism ?
    the irish loom & the brits get hell (more the other way around!) ?
    nonesense!here's another byword :no clue clue for fancy-pants!(for that quote that is,not that 'know-it-all-yanks' spring out of the woodwork with their useless comments regarding this topic,which they like to make their own as if they have endured it offence,just an experience.)

  23. lostcause76

    Great Britain consists of England Scotland and Wales.
    The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
    Any citizen of the UK is entitled to a British Passport and is considered a British citizen.
    Northern Ireland is part of the island of Ireland along with the Republic of Ireland.
    Citizens of Northern Ireland can obtain an Irish passport from the Republic of Ireland.
    Citizens of Northern Ireland are entitled to therefore have dual British and or Irish citizenship.

  24. dewflirt

    Liked this.

  25. Irishkev

    Not a bad thumbnail of the situation here. Just one mistake though. When the presenter said he was in Great Britain he was wrong. He was in Ireland. Saoirse !

    1. Epicurus

      lol but Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain

    2. dmxi

      only in the ulsterian mindset (lol?) !

    3. Irishkev

      No Ep, it's definitely Ireland, as in northern Ireland. Check out the map.

    4. Barzee

      Hmm...Kev, I think you may of opened a can of worms with that comment man lol.

    5. Irishkev

      Ah sure, it's good to talk Barzee.

    6. Irishkev

      What people should be asking is. who put those worms in the can in the first place ?

    7. dmxi

      i bet those worms were orange.

    8. Irishkev

      Howya dmxi, the orange order is a masonic organisation as is the ancient order of Hibernians. There has to be someone pulling the strings here or this mess would have been sorted out long ago. Who profits might be the pertinent question. I heard a theory recently that the battle of the Boyne(1690) was in reality a masonic ceremony whereby the catholic James handed over his sovereignty to his cousin William of Orange, who knows? We still don't know for sure what happened on 911 for Gawds sake. I do know that most Irish people are happy to live and let live but that these triumphalist throwbacks cause a lot of trouble.

    9. Colin Byrne

      Try to find some archaeological finds from the "battle" of the Boyne, I couldn't a couple of years back. Museums only seem to have contemporary saches commemorating it. One study (by TCD??) spoke of how one of the surviving buildings that was supposedly beseiged had very few musket shot holes or damage in general. Surely the crossing point would be a treasure trove as private archaeology is illegal in É this law to stop us realising our true history perhaps? About this, the "famine" and other lies we live with. Not to mention how our history is hidden through the desecration of our monuments for road this day!

    10. Irishkev

      I don't see the Time Team taking that one on any time soon Colin. I do remember Mr Paisley being presented with a musket from the "Battle" of the Boyne by one of our illustrious leaders a few years back. Hey, that was just before the world bank, IMF and ECB rolled into town. Am I seeing a pattern here?

  26. KarpKomet

    ooo first comment...I love this series, glad to see them making more.

    I'm from Montreal and Vice was a small community paper here for years in the 90's. My friends would have a copy now and then and it was pretty damn amazing. Anyway I forgot about them, but recently noticed there travel vids on you tube and suddenly I see that there a big american magazine powerhouse! Its just weird to see something that underground and edgy becoming sold out....glad there still around and doing well though.