Visiting Shankill is a must for travelers with an interest in Northern Irish history. Black taxi tours chronicling the Troubles—a 30-year period of political and civil strife—and modern-day Belfast’s political and religious divides typically bring participants to the peace walls. Murals on both the Unionist Shankill side and the Republican Falls Road side are ripe with political symbolism. Hop-on hop-off bus tours of the city also make stops at Shankill.
Things to Know Before You Go
Shankill is a must for history buffs and political enthusiasts.
The main artery of the neighborhood is the Shankill Road, which is lined with pubs, restaurants, and local shops.
Shankill is no longer dangerous, but tribalism still reigns so be mindful when talking about politics.
How to Get There
Shankill is situated in West Belfast. Translink Metro buses connect the area with the city center, with routes 11a, 11b, and 11c all traveling along the Shankill Road.
When to Get There
It’s best to visit Shankill during the day, as some of the gates along the peace walls shut at night. Avoid visiting on July 12, also known as the Twelfth or Orangemen’s Day, an annual Unionist commemoration.
The Troubled History of Shankill
Shankill is known for its role in the Troubles, a 30-year conflict between various nationalist factions (who wanted a united Ireland) and loyalist groups (who wanted to remain part of Britain). The neighborhood was the birthplace of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Shankill Butchers unit, who were responsible for the torture and murder of around 20 Catholics in Belfast. It was also the site of several Republican attacks, including the 1993 Shankill Road bombing during which 10 people—civilians among them—were killed.
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- Eileen Hickey Irish Republican History Museum
- Belfast Peace Wall
- Belfast Falls Road
- Crumlin Road Gaol
- Belfast City Hall
- St. Anne's Cathedral
- Crown Liquor Saloon
- Belfast Cathedral Quarter
- Victoria Square Shopping Centre
- Albert Memorial Clock
- Belfast Customs House
- Belfast Grand Opera House
- Odyssey Pavilion & SSE Arena
- Queen's University Belfast
- Belfast Botanic Gardens & Palm House