Ireland Reflections 2020–Last Day!

For our last day on the trip, we headed for Stormont – home to the Northern Ireland Assembly for our morning excursion. As Morgan Henson noted, “the Parliament building in Belfast was a truly interesting experience. After going through what some might call a gauntlet of stories about The Troubles all week, we finally arrived at the seat of the Northern Ireland government. After hearing about The Troubles, and the resulting fallout, I was curious to see what the governing…

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Ireland Reflections 2020–Back to Belfast

A speaker at the Irish Language Center in BelfastAfter some longer days of travel, the group took a welcomed short trip to Cultúrlann – the Irish Language Center – in Belfast. For 3L Margaret Spring, this “was one of the most rewarding experiences of our trip.” She recalled the visit “reminded me that no matter how much a culture tries to be erased, it will not and cannot happen.”

Nim Nannan accounted “Culturlann is a great representation of the Irish’s determination to preserve and promote their language and culture. When a people are colonized, one of the first things the colonizers do is restrict the colonized sense of culture and identity to prevent the promulgation of both in future generations as to quickly assimilate them into their own. The founders of Culturlann formed the community center in direct opposition of this agenda by the British government.” She added, “the founders started both Irish language schools and a community center without government support and both continued to flourish as future generations took up the cause.”

After having the opportunity to explore the center and speak with current Culturlann director – and product of the Irish language school – Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, the group piled into one of the classrooms to meet with first with two former IRA combatants who were now involved in both local politics and peacebuilding. (more…)

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Ireland Reflections 2020 — Border Tours & Fermanagh

While Tuesday gave us a pretty clear view of the Troubles from the perspective of the Catholic community, Wednesday was the opposite and brought us face to face with the pain of the Protestants in Northern Ireland. A quick two-hour bus ride out of Belfast led us to the office of the South East Fermanagh Foundation (“SEFF”) for our first stop of our Fermanagh day. There we were greeted with warm biscuits, cups of tea and the Director of SEFF,…

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Ireland Reflections 2020–Derry Girls (and Boys) Part 2

Happy Monday to all–this continues the Ireland blog posts which I’ll have for the rest of this week! The visit to Derry was so filled with content that I divided this into two posts.  The morning (as outlined in the last post) was a walking tour of the neighborhoods and visiting the museum.  After a brief lunch break, we grabbed some tea and biscuits and piled into the basement of a local community center to speak with a series of…

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Ireland Reflections 2020–Derry Girls (and Boys) Part 1

On Tuesday morning of our trip (after a full day in Belfast), we hopped on the bus and headed to Derry… or Londonderry, depending with whom you are talking. (And for a very funny take on the situation in Derry during the Troubles,  see Derry Girls.) From the name(s) themselves, it was clear that this was going to be a very divided experience, as Katie Tompson noted “what I was not entirely ready for was the intense emotions and remaining…

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