North of the Border

23 Oct

Around 200 KM north of Dublin lies Northern Ireland, a very beautiful and troubled land that I had the privilege of visiting this past weekend. This place is infamous for the trouble that took place there 20 years ago and is land to some of the most beautiful sceneries on the island of Ireland, which shows like “Game of Throwns” were filmed on. Northern Ireland is home to 6 counties and two of the largest cities in Ireland, Belfast and Derry or Londonderry, depending on where you are from. These two cities were the destinations of my travels and have left me with feelings of joy and sorrows for the families that call them home.

My trip was both exciting and enlightening. While I did get to see some beautiful places during my time in Northern Ireland like Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, what I will remember most are the stories that I heard from the locals that I met. The people I met there, told stories of violence and sadness that took place in Northern Ireland around 20 years ago. Because of the conflicts between Nationalists or Catholics, and Unionists or Protestants, Northern Ireland was a very scary and troubled place.

One of the stories that hit me the most was that of one of the tour guides that showed us around Belfast on our busses. He told us about the time that a bomb exploded in a fish market that he was next to, and when he rushed over to help, he ended up pulling out body parts from the rubble that included those of young children and his best friend. His story was very graphic, but I think that was one of the reasons that it had a big impact on me. He didn’t hold back on what he was telling us, and I think that is important in order to emphasize what was really going on in Northern Ireland at this time. His non-sugarcoated stories were the stories of millions of people who lived in this part of the world for many of years, and they are the stories that are important that we don’t let repeat themselves and move towards of world of acceptance and peace.

My trip to the north was something that I will never forget. The importance of this trip was monumental, because it gave us a chance to see how dysfunctional a world of hate and fighting would be and the importance of spreading peace. The lives and stories that I looked in on while there will stay with me forever.

-Katharine Brandow

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