To kick off our Reading week, we were taken to Northern Ireland, specifically Belfast and Derry-Londonderry. On Friday, after leaving in the wee hours of the morning, we arrived in Belfast and took a Bus tour of city center and some of the nationalist side. During the times called the Troubles, Belfast used to close the city center in an attempt to protect it. Belfast was one of my favorite excursions. The city, while similar to Dublin, has a very posh style about it. The city is crawling with history, turmoil, sacrifice, and even more important, progression. A difference that I didn’t expect was the different between the accents. I was told that there was a difference; however I didn’t expect it to be so drastic.
After spending a relaxing night in a Belfast hotel, we were off to Derry-Londonderry. However, we first stopped at Giant’s Causeway for a nice hike. Giant’s Causeway is believed to be the remains of an ancient bridge connecting Ireland and Scotland. However, the legend is said that it was built by a giant. Fionn ma Cumhaill was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner who was significantly larger. So, to trick Benandonner, Fionn’s wife disguises him as a baby. When Benandonner see the size of Fionn and thinks he is the child, he becomes afraid of what its father would look like, and then he proceed to flee and destroy the causeway so that Fionn cannot come follow him. As the sun began to descend the causeway, we were able to get some really beautiful photographs.
We stayed in a four star hotel, and it was a really nice getaway from our daily lives at Griffith and Blackhall.
Sunday morning, we were taking on a historical walking tour of Derry. We also had the luck of being there during Remembrance Day in which everyone wears red poppies on their shirts to remember those who risked their lives during WWI. The tour was extremely intense as we were told of the turmoil that Derry has experienced. We then were taken to see the murals around Derry and ended the tour at a museum of Bloody Sunday of 1972.
The excursion to Northern Ireland was my favorite because we received a different view of everything that we have learning in class. We were able to put an emotional attachment to the history taught in class, while still seeing a beautiful city that I would love to return to.