“Do you want me to take a picture of you?” “Yes!”
This is what we continued saying to one another while looking at the beauty of the north coast of Northern Ireland (well, to be honest, the beauty of Ireland and Northern Ireland too) and overall, the area continues to blow me away! Today, in addition to driving around the North Coast, we stopped at a couple castles, including Dunluce Castle, explored Giant’s Castaway, and visited Bushmills. The beauty of this natural area and how clear and clean everything was astonishing. As the wind blew everyone’s hair in every direction imaginable, we laughed and enjoyed the wonderful scenery that surrounded us. I was inspired by the pure nature that was all around us. Ultimately, this peaceful place was symbolic in demonstrating the type of calm, beautiful peace that people hope will be apart of the world as a whole.
The daily details:
While riding on the bus today, we listened to the song Bobby Sans wrote while imprisoned during the times of the Troubles. This moment connected to yesterday when we learned about the song’s origin. Bobby Sans wrote the song by stealing ink carriages from visitors when in prison and wrote out the song on pieces of toilet paper while he was in his prison cell. After writing the song he called out to the others in the jail and told them that this song was especially important for those from Derry who were imprisoned. As the individual telling us this story, a man from Derry, continued, he spoke of how deeply the song touched him. What was the song you ask? It was called “Back home in Derry”. As they sang, “I wish I was back home in Derry,” the prisoners thought about their homes and the reasons they fought so hard for the human rights of their people in Northern Ireland. Listening to this song today and hearing it unite all of us on the bus into remembering Northern Ireland’s history demonstrated this song’s strength and the strength of the people who fought resiliently for justice.
While visiting Dunluce Castle, we explored a historical place when Protestants came over to Northern Ireland in the 16 and 17 century. While exploring, I found it interesting how this castle not only originates from when Protestants came to Northern Ireland but the vast history this one place holds. The area was first set up as plantations and went through a phase of setting up a city in order to attract sea trade. While it was unable to compare to other cities due to the lack of a harbor, this place continued to be a home to many people. It’s connection to many Protestants beginning their family lines in Northern Ireland and the representation of deep historical ties Protestants have to this area was interesting to learn about. I find it important that we have seen places that connect to both Nationalist and Loyalist and that are now public spaces for education. I see this as a way to share space in a place working to overcome physical and mental divides. Also, it is important to educate people on Northern Ireland’s history so they can understand the depth of political and humans rights issue. The more people come together, I believe, the faster they can collaborate to reach unity.
While at Giant’s Castaway and Dunluce Castle, I tried to explore as much as I could of the vast and beautiful historical sites. Both sites are key places to explore while in Northern Ireland and tourist from all over come together to explore the ancient Dunluce Castle and beautiful natural structure of Giant’s Castaway. Exploring and enjoying our time at these special places connects to the overall idea of the importance of historical sites. Physically visiting historical sites gives a person a more in depth and personal connection to the place and what it represents. This connects to the murals we have seen throughout this trip and the different historical sites we have continued to visit. Being at a site and using as many senses as possible help keep a place’s history alive is how memories and memorials remain as time moves on.
Ultimately, today was another incredible day! I loved exploring all these beautiful and historical places. I can’t believe how amazing my experience here has been and I have been inspired while learning about humans rights and history in Northern Ireland.