Northern Ireland

3 Nov

Last weekend we went on a trip to Northern Ireland. Many people are unaware of the major cultural differences between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which we learned all about. Until we traveled there I had no idea there was such a major conflict between the Roman Catholics and English Protestants. It was crazy to see that there was a 40 foot tall wall essentially splitting a section of Belfast in half dividing these two groups. There were large gates that closed every night until the next morning as well. This is meant to keep the two sides separate and prevent any further fighting. It definitely put things in perspective for me and made me appreciate that I have never had to live like that. At the height of the conflict there were severe bombings, assassinations etc. and people were constantly living in fear. Fortunately, the two sides are on the right track to put their differences aside, but for the moment they are still divided and I was shocked to see it was still like that.

On a lighter note, it was amazing to see Giant’s Causeway and it was my favorite part of the trip. This was located on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland and it believed these formations were caused by intense volcanic activity. As the lava cooled along the coast it fractured in a certain way that created these pillarlike structures. I have never seen anything like those structures, and it was shocking to learn they naturally formed that way. We also learned about the origin of the name Giant’s Causeway as well, which I found very interesting. It was based on a Gaelic legend of a giant that built the causeway to fight a Scottish giant and the columns left today are the remains of the causeway. Overall, it was a very informative trip and I definitely learned a lot.

-Ben Downey

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