Northern Ireland Excursion

20 Nov

The trip to Northern Ireland has been my favorite trip in Ireland thus far.  The combination of sightseeing and incredible views at the Giant’s Causeway mixed with the history of Northern Ireland is unique and unbeatable.  While my trip was remarkable and I can only say positive things about Belfast and Derry, the people of Northern Ireland have faced dark times filled with conflicts.

During our bus tour of Belfast, I was shocked to learn about the ill treatment imposed on those who were Catholic.  The republicans always seemed to have “the short end of the stick.”  For example, their homes were in the same neighborhood as loyalists yet the republicans were allotted the smallest houses on the outskirts of the cities.  The loyalists encouraged the separation to transfer onto all forms of living: education, daily curfews, and professional life.  As I was listening to the tour guide talk about his life as a republican, I kept thinking about the similarities these individuals experienced to those the Jews faced throughout WWII.  I have realized that while Religion can be a positive aspect in one’s life, it is often the root of many problems and wars around the world.  Solely due to religious beliefs, an individual may face continuous abuse throughout their life.

The conflict between the Protestants and Catholics hit a breaking point on January 30, 1972.  This day, known as Bloody Sunday, marks the day when the British Army shot 26 innocent (14 of whom died) and unarmed civil-rights protesters.  To this day, a division between the Protestants and the Catholics still remains.  In recent news, police officers plan to interview and possibly even prosecute British soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday.  Within the next year, twenty British soldiers will be interviewed for their involvement in the incident, which marks the first time the soldiers will formally be interviewed by police as a part of a murder investigation.  While the final verdicts have yet to take place, there are mixed feelings regarding the possible persecution of seventy and eighty year old men.  However, the majority of republicans feel that justice is finally being served.  No matter how long ago Bloody Sunday may have occurred, upset still remains.  My trip throughout Derry and Belfast was one that was unforgettable.  Northern Ireland is filled with so much history and a future that will be just as important as it’s past.

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