My experiences in Northern Ireland:
I want to write a paragraph about my experiences during our journey through Northern Ireland with a special focus on the “Troubles” and the schools we visited.
Because we started our journey in Dublin (Ireland) before we travelled to Northern Ireland (by bus) I got my first impressions of the Troubles when we left Dublin Airport in a taxi. The taxi-driver warned us not to go to Northern Ireland because we could get shot. I realized that his reaction was understandable as the day of the Orange Order marches drew closer.
On our coach trip to Belfast we heard in the news that there had been troubles in Belfast at night and that some people had been injured. Our bus driver commented on the events and told us several things about the historical division of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Even though we were very excited to spend some days in Belfast it seemed a bit unfair to me that we should live on the guarded university campus and the citizens were not safe.
The first thought that came to my mind was that this whole visit in Northern Ireland on the basis of what we had learned so far about the political background felt like watching a movie with the emotional distance of the audience.
This feeling continued when our travel guide in Belfast told us that her husband had been killed by a bomb in a pub and the headmaster of St. Peter’s High School in Derry/Londonderry showed us a place on the schoolyard at the end of our visit where the IRA had practised shooting in the seventies.
My highlights were our school visits in Belfast and Derry where we watched the lessons and talked to the teachers during our trips through the two cities. We also visited an Irish pub where we could listen to beautiful fiddle music. Another special event was the visit to the Ulster museum in the Botanic Gardens of Belfast because we could see black and white photographs and tables which dealt with the “Troubles” shown on a time scheme starting in the seventies.
I cannot think of any lowlights except that I sometimes had the feeling at the end of a day that I had seen too much.
But nevertheless I am glad to have been on the trip to Northern Ireland and to get in contact with the other students. I really enjoyed our trip to Northern Ireland.