Northern Ireland Trip

26 Oct

This last weekend we made our way up to Northern Ireland. Going to Belfast and Derry really opened my eyes to the pain and suffering this country or “countries” had gone through. I found it interesting that when asking someone in Northern Ireland where they’re from one would respond differently depending on their religion and faith. This is an unknown concept to me because in the states everyone will say they are from America regardless of their faith.

In Belfast we went on a walking tour that turned into a bus tour of some of the city. We had two tour guides. One was a Republican and the other was a Loyalist. Both of them are ex cons and have spent numerous years in prison for violent acts against the opposing parties.  These two men took us around to different murals and told us stories about the conflict between the two groups of people from their perspectives and actual experiences.  It is interesting to me that these two groups of people live so close together but have to be separated by walls. This reminds me of the Israel conflict in the Middle East. Beside the point, I found the murals and stories very informative and creative.

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On Saturday we went to the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge and the Giants Causeway. Both places were beautiful sights to see and great hiking adventures. The 30-meter deep and 20-meter wide gap is brought together by the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge and is significant because, “It is thought salmon fishermen have been building bridges to the island for over 350 years. It has taken many forms over the years” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrick-a-Rede_Rope_Bridge). The Giants Causeway was awesome because it’s where Game of Thrones has been filmed and it’s also incredibly beautiful. Its significant because, “the geology of the site comprises an internationally unparalleled display of geological formations, representing local volcanic activity during the Tertiary some 50-60 million years ago” (http://www.qub.ac.uk/geomaterials/weathering/causeway/significance.html).  I hiked all the way to the top by myself and I really felt empowered. 

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 Sunday we went on a tour of Derry (Londonderry), which is also called the Maiden City because its walls have never been breached. The tour was a walk on top of the actual city walls. You could see the entire city and all the murals on the walls of the houses. The murals all represented some past war event that caused heartbreak within the country and city. In the Derry museum I learned more about bloody Sunday and the impact it had on the country. 

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