This past weekend, during our trip to Belfast and London Derry, I learned a great deal about the history of conflict that has taken place over the past century in Northern Ireland. Although there are many differences, it reminds me somewhat of the civil war that took place in America between the Union and the Confederacy. The two tours, from each of the opposing perspectives, thoroughly explained the tensions that have occurred between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
It was interesting to hear the contrasting viewpoints of our two tour guides, who had served as political prisoners for their activeness in fighting for their beliefs. The second man was an active member of the IRA years ago. He explained to us the story of how he ended up in prison, which included him and a few others planning to plant a bomb inside of a building on the other side of the wall, giving everybody inside enough time to evacuate before the explosion. My mind was blown at the amount of violence and intimidation these people used in order scare the opponents, but then I remembered, these kinds of conflicts occur all over the world for religious and territorial beliefs.
On another note, the scenery was amazing. The Carrick-a-rede rope bridge brought us onto a small island with amazing views out into the ocean. Having lunch in a country-style restaurant was cultural and contributed to the experience of visiting another country. When we got to Giant’s Causeway, I couldn’t believe how big the landscapes were. Although it was not quite as large as the Cliffs of Moher, it was breathtaking, and quite a hike to reach the top. I had a great time over the weekend in Northern Ireland, while learning about history and seeing amazing sights.