28 Oct

On our class trip to Northern Ireland, the first place we visited was Belfast. Northern Ireland is technically a part of the United Kingdom. There is a political divide between the loyalists (UK) and the nationalists (Ireland). The problems lie in territorial boundaries and religion, nationals being Catholic and loyalists being Protestant. The IRA created problems and unrest with the loyalists due to murders. It was crazy to see how these issues still affect Belfast today. Our first tour leader that was a Nationalist actually spent 10 years in prison for getting involved with the IRA. He showed us all of the murals that were painted across Belfast. It was sad to see the dedications to the people and children that have died. They were honored through this wall art. He took us to the Garden of Remembrance, which you can see in the one picture I was able to take for the day due to intense rain. It was so depressing to look at the names and faces of people who have passed. Our second tour guide was a loyalist and spent 18 years in prison because of arguments between the loyalists and nationalists. He showed us the other side of the wall where the loyalists lived. The area was very run down! Our tour guide even told us that there were so many drive-by bombings that the number of pubs in the area decreased from about 100 to only 6. Pubs became a target for violence and therefore had to be shut down. I find it hard to completely comprehend the whole conflict between the two sides, but that’s what I learned from our two tour leaders. It was very enlightening and interesting, but I didn’t get to see other parts of Belfast during my visit, so I don’t feel as if I saw enough of Belfast. I only got to see the political conflict parts, which isn’t fair to label Belfast as a whole. I drove by the Titanic Museum as well (Belfast was the location that the Titanic was built) and was so sad to see that it was closed and I did not have time to visit it during my visit. I would have been so happy if I could have visited that museum! I find the Titanic so interesting! I learned a lot on this trip to Belfast, but I do not think I had enough time there. I’ll have to visit again on a day that is sunnier and explore more of the city!



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