Religion: 48% Protestants, 45% Catholics
Order of Visit: Fifth
First Visit: 15 February 2000
Last Visit: 20 February 2000
Duration: 6 Days
Must Do: Exploring Belfast murals of the Troubles, Irish pubs, Experience the Giant’s Causeway, The green countryside
Cities: Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, Derry
Northern Ireland Journal Entries
Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Southern Ireland eventually become the Republic of Ireland in 1937.
Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists or republicans. The Troubles, which started in the late 1960s, consisted of about 30 years of recurring acts of intense violence during which 3,254 people were killed with over 50,000 casualties. From 1969 to 2003 there were over 36,900 shooting incidents and over 16,200 bombings or attempted bombings associated with The Troubles.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons and security normalisation (less armoured vehicles for the police and involvement of the British Army). Since 1998, Northern Ireland has had devolved government within the United Kingdom, presided over by the Northern Ireland Assembly with the UK Parliament are responsible for reserved and excepted matters
Peace was made a lot easier by both United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland being members of European Union allowing for removal of borders under the EU movement of people principle.
In many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, and people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games.
During my visit to both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland I experienced very friendly people, an amazing countryside with overcast weather which lead to multiple pub visits sitting by a fire talking to the friendly locals.
In Northern Ireland there is still a lot of tension between the two sides especially the Protestants, despite the Good Friday Agreement. The sad thing is separately both sides displayed the same friendly attributes you can only hope peace will last.
The country is so picturesque and tranquil in the countryside but then so tension in Belfast.