Journey To The Wall

23 Oct

This past weekend we went north to visit the cities of Belfast and Derry. Our first day included a long bus ride up to Belfast and a tour of the city. Our tour of the city was supposed to be a walking tour but thankfully was changed to a bus tour after large amounts of rain started to come down. Our tour was presented by two different guides who came from very different backgrounds. The first guide was representing the Irish nationalist side, and had personally fought as a representative of the IRA. We also learned that he had spent upwards of ten years in prison because he attempted to set off bombs in the Financial District. The other guide we came into contact with was a Unionist and had also served upwards of ten years for working with an illegal organization.

 

They entire experience in the North was unbelievably eye opening and humbling. I didn’t realize the amount of bloodshed that had occurred in Northern Ireland, and the tension that still exists today. The murals everywhere add to the overall creepy, sad mood of the city that seems to radiate through the buildings and everyone living there. Typically when walking through a city you feel a sort of energy however while going through Belfast all you feel is tense and uncomfortable. It is also very interesting that despite the high population there isn’t anyone walking on the streets through the city. The final thing that really set this city apart from any other I’ve been to was the wall that separated the Catholic and Protestant neighborhood districts. Its amazing to see that even in this day and age in this seemingly peaceful western nation people still need a wall to keep the peace.

 

Although I’m happy I was able to see and experience Northern Ireland I hope to never have to go back again. The hostility and bloodshed has clearly tainted the city and those residing there. Hopefully someday that will all change and Belfast can become a happy, friendly place like Dublin. Image

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