The trail takes you around works of art as well as sites of historical and cultural interest.
This trail is an initiative of Fáilte Feirste Thiar, Forbairt Feirste, West Belfast Partnership Board, Shankill Tourism, Greater Shankill Partnership, Upper Springfield Development Trust and Spectrum Centre.
The trail takes you around works of art in the area, as well as sites of historical and cultural interest. Although the traditions of the communities in the two areas differ in some very significant respects, and can be classed as broadly Unionist/Protestant in the Shankill and Nationalist/ Catholic in the Falls, there is very much a shared history, and one that is not well highlighted.
Belfast’s growth was immense in the period of the late nineteenth century, and was due to a number of factors, including the expansion of the industrial base as thousands of people moved from the countryside to the city in face of the potato blights of 1845-1847. The Forth and the Farset rivers, which fl ow through the West of the City, were sites of much activity associated with the industrial growth of the city. In fact it is from the River Farset (Féarsaid in Irish) that Belfast as a city gets it’s name (Béal Feirste, meaning “the mouth of the sandy-ridged river”).
Similar working conditions were shared by both communities, as they toiled in the factories and linen mills through the end of the 19th and into the 20th Century. Alas, the big industries went into decline, and of the original thirty two mills, none exist today.
History has moved on, and with the city emerging from the upheavals of the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, we are now entering a more hopeful and peaceful period, and this initiative is but one of many cross community initiatives which will help in making the city more attractive to the visitor. We have a wealth of history and culture to be explored - come and uncover some of those hidden riches.