Travel Blog

Road Side Check Points in Belfast

Road Side Check Points in BelfastRoad Side Check Points in Belfast – Our last post, Airport security in Dublin, talked about armed guards checking documents as you entered the airport building. We were amazed when this happened to us. I was telling this same story to a friend of mine who grew up in Northern Ireland in Belfast. He look at me quite seriously and asked, ” Have you ever had a gun pointed at your head?” This comment really took me by surprise!

I must admit I looked at him with an incredulous look! I really could not believe what he was saying and wondered if I had heard properly. This is a guy who I have known for 20 years. He seemed to be a mild mannered type of person who would never be involved in anything that would require a gun pointed at his head.  I asked him to repeat his question which was the same as he had previously asked. Of course I answered in the negative and wanted to know what he was talking about.

Road Side Check Points in Belfast

Turns out that back in the late 60’s, he was in a car with his wife and small child in the back seat driving somewhere in Belfast. There were all kinds of checkpoints set up by the army to try to control the movement of guns. Also to arrest specific people they were after. When you got to a check point, you rolled a window down in your car. A guard came over to your car and rested the muzzle of his gun on the window of your car pointed directly at your chest. The guard kept the gun pointed at you at all times while peppering you with questions! I guess this was their way of putting pressure on you to see how you would react and whether you would say something you shouldn’t.

Now if this is not bad enough, sometimes you would hear gun shots off in the distance or in some cases quite close by.  Picture the situation you are in. You are stopped at a check point. A guard has his gun pointed at you. Some body is shooting and you have your wife and child in the car. You cannot get down out of the way and you cannot drive off. Besides which way do you go. You can’t tell were the gun shots are coming from! What a situation to be in!

Drive Away from the Check Point

The next thing that happens after the shooting starts is that the guards gets flat on the ground beside his car and yells at him to  get moving, get the ^(*^&*( out of here, now!  My friend starts his car and fortunately makes it safely out of the area. However everyone was very afraid at that point. They were not even sure if they are driving away from the gun shots or driving into a gun fight. What a scary situation to be in?

He told me that this situation is actually pretty common. The check points always had guards pointing their guns at you to intimidate you. The gun fights did breakout fairly often as well.  This was an absolutely bad time to be growing up in Belfast. Many people were on both sides of the conflict losing family members and receiving terrible injuries.

We  thought that we would pass along this little story for our readers to enjoy knowing that it actually occurred and was part of every day life at that time. If you have similar stories to share please do so. We will include them in this blog and give you a link back to your own web site as well.

Our next post will be about my friends move to North America and getting out of Belfast  and how even now he still gives a shudder when he thinks back to this situation we described above. For more posts about security issues in Ireland, click here.



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2 Responses to “Road Side Check Points in Belfast”

  1. we plan on going to Ireland in the near future. Thanks for these posts about northern Ireland. Glad to hear that these kind of check points are a thing of the past in Northern Ireland

  2. friends of ours have gone to Belfast Ireland many times with no problems at all. like all cities you need to stay out of specific areas and avoid demonstrations etc. you will be fine

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