Today we left Pat and Angela. Its been lovely meeting family as we make our way around. Discovering our connections, learning about our upbringings. Similarities and differences. Its funny…we’ve lived a world apart but so much was similar in our Irish Catholic upbringing. Thanks for being so welcoming guys and we hope we can play host to you in NZ some time. Stupid of me but I never got a photo. I’m a bit hopeless at remembering to do that.
We headed to Northern Ireland today figuring it would be rude to bypass. Northern Ireland has had such a negative image for me and funnily enough when we told Pat and Angela of our plans they immediately warned us of the big March on today being July 12. While there isn’t the same conflict as in days gone by, there were road blocks, police and potential for trouble. This pic is of the remains of a Bonfire that was 40-50 ft high in the Protestant area last night. Note the painted kerb signifying a Protestant area.
Pat recommended a walking tour of the walled city Derry and this was really interesting firstly from an historical point of view. It’s one of the oldest complete walled cities in Europe and informative in terms of understanding the Troubles Northern Ireland has had. This pic is what is known as the bog side which is where predominantly the Catholics lived.
Derry is where ‘Bloody Sunday’ happened, just to the right of this pic. It had been row upon row of poor quality housing where many were unemployed.
There’s a mural depicting a 14 year old girl who was shot in a sudden crossfire. This is to remember the many innocent children who were killed.
I couldn’t pretend to understand it all after just one hour but I guess the key thing is parties seem to have reached some semblance of agreement and there’s a commitment going forward to a better future. There were hundreds of marches all over Ireland feeding into main areas. We are waiting here as this parade passes and this monument symbolises the extended hand of peace.