University:

Email Address:

Phone Number:

Study Abroad Blog

Flight Credit Get a Flight Credit worth up to $1,000 when you apply with code* by February 17, 2023

Belfast

This past weekend, CEA took us to Belfast, Northern Ireland.
 The gates between the Unionist and Nationalist neighborhoods in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

When I think of Belfast, I think of violence, Jamie Dornan, and the Titanic. While all of those things are a part of Belfast's past, there was so much more to this city than I had ever imagined.

We kicked off the day at St. George's Market, sampling food from several nationalities, like crepes, falafels, burgers and chowder. Everybody had to stop at an ATM and get some pounds since Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, which I think a lot of people forget sometimes. Northern Ireland is comprised of only six counties, whereas the Republic of Ireland has twenty-six. Northern Ireland's history is a long, complicated, and somewhat tragic one, but I think that's part of what made the trip so meaningful.

 Some classmates in front of the Peace Walls

One of the professors here at CEA Dublin, Kelly, accompanied us to Belfast and gave us a bus and walking tour around the city to teach us some background about Belfast and to help us understand what is known as "The Troubles," or decades of violence, fighting, and tension that gave Belfast a bit of a bad reputation.
Signing the Peace Walls between the Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods

Kelly explained that most of the fighting is a mix of two major points of difference - Catholicism vs. Protestantism and Nationalism vs. Unionism. Generally, the Catholics and Nationalists were the same people and the Protestants and the Unionists were the same people. There were decades of bombings, shootings, and so many other terrible acts in Belfast as Northern Ireland attempted to figure out the fine details of its constitution and overall sovereign standing. To use a euphemism, to be part of the UK or not to be part of the UK was the question.
 A view of the top of the Victoria Shopping Centre in Belfast

Although we only spent a day in Belfast, it was easy to see the profound impact that this status of tense unknown had had on the city over the years. The peace walls are still standing, the gates between the Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods still close at 7 PM every night, and there were more memorials than I could count. We did get to go sign the peace walls, and it was fascinating to see how many references to other world events were plastered on the walls, like the fall of the Soviet Union, ISIS/ISIL, 9/11, Orlando, and so much more. The signatures were scattered about the wall, which still runs for about 2 kilometers in between the Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods, and in a few years, the possibility of removing the wall is on the government agenda.
 My personal favorite signature on the Peace Walls.

Since I still have a limited knowledge of Belfast's history, I cannot say whether or not I think that the wall in its existence or its potential removal was/would be a good idea, but I can say that this day trip enlightened my understanding of a country that previously I had assumed was just a formal separation of the Republic. It's good to be wrong sometimes.

Victoria N. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior studying Commerce & Business at Rhodes College.



Read more about our CEA Content Creators.
 
Load more comments
Thank you for the comment! Your comment must be approved first
comment-avatar


MUST-READ BLOGS


VIEW POSTS BY DESTINATION


VIEW POSTS BY CATEGORY

Receive a $1,000 Flight Credit when you apply by February 17, 2023

Get your flight credit code and access to Passbook in two easy steps. With Passbook, you can track your favorite programs and courses, save flight credits, and watch videos on the destination you're interested in.

Apply Now

Step 1 of 2

Step 2 of 2


*By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive recurring text messages from CEA Study Abroad notifying you of important program deadlines. Message and data rates may apply.

Privacy Policy   |   Mobile Terms   |   Flight Credit Rules

Your flight credit has been added to your Passbook. Apply now or view your Passbook to begin the next step in your journey.

LET'S CHAT