Northern Ireland

10 Dec

During this Semester I had the unique opportunity to go to Northern Ireland. We first went to Belfast and received a tour of the city. I remember our tour guide as she was particularly charismatic. We saw all the Murals and learned much about the history of the troubles. The troubles was essentially a military conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants. This conflict was not really religious in nature but rather ethnic.  The Catholics wished to join The Republic of Ireland while The Protestants wished maintain the Union with The United Kingdom. I learned an interesting fact from our tour guide that I probably would not have otherwise heard She told us that as most of the violence was carried out by teenagers grandmothers on both sides conspired  to keep their grandchildren out of trouble and they actually saved a lot of lives doing so. We later went to the courthouse where learned in intricate detail about how the Irish Parliament works. Essentially the parliament is designed to please all members and avoid conflict. We later went to Giants Causeway where we marveled at the epic beauty of the Irish coastline and this apparently natural structure. According to legend, the columns are the remains of a bridge built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Finn MacCool was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner.  Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than him and disguises himself as a baby. When Benandonner sees the size of the ‘baby’, he thinks that his father ,Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow. All the while we were travelling in the bus our tour guide pointed out sites used by The Game of Thrones. I found this particularly amusing as I am fan of the show. We later went to the city of Derry ( or Londonderry ) and we learned of the history of the trouble there, viewed the even more magnificent Murals and we got the chance to walk along the walls of the city. Overall I found our trip to Northern Ireland very informative and I look forward to returning one day. -Saeed Faghihi

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