I find it interesting how the media makes Belfast look and seem like Beirut. I have spent manys a happy day shopping or having lunch in one of the pubs around Smithfield, and never even saw a soldier! I would feel safe walking in Belfast at 3am, but not as safe walking in New York or any American city at that hour. I have found that the more north you travel in Ireland, the more friendly people are. One of my dear old friends, Bridie Gallagher, (yes, "thee" Bridie Gallagher) has lived there for 30 years. Like me, she still travels back to Donegal regularly, but there's a woman with enough money to live anywhere she pleases. Belfast is her abode of choice. God, this sounds too much like a commercial for Bord Failte!