Apologies for the delay in my posts. We wrapped up in Bundoran, headed to Dublin and then I was off to London for a second leg of my trip. Before I leave my Ireland blog, I must write about our day trip to the Giant's Causeway and the city of Derry or Londonderry. Both of these spots were very different. One was a geological and mythical landscape and their other a city grappling with the aftermath of The Troubles -- Northern Ireland's and the Irish Republic's conflicts over access and identity.
The Giant's Causeway
The about three hour trek to the Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was slightly clouded in when we arrived but as the morning heated up the fog burned off to reveal a beautiful coastline. We had a lovely tour guide named Megan that shared information about the geological significance of the hexagon shaped rock formations, the iron deposits as well as the mythical story of Finn McCool, the Celtic giant that wanted to fight with the Scottish giant named, Benadonner. For the entire mythical tale, click on the YouTube video below.
The People's Gallery -- Derry Mural art
After the Giant's Causeway we continued on into Northern Ireland to see the mural art depicting 1972's Bloody Sunday, the memorial art of innocent victims of The Troubles and the new art recognizing the many peace agreements attempts that started in September 1992. The murals cover the sides of government housing that are populated with the minority population, Catholics and other Irish Republic supporters. Many of the murals are dark and share the violent stories of fighting for equal access to jobs, housing and recognition of the Irish identity. We were privileged to meet the mural artists as they were touching up a nearby mural -- note the first photo in the gallery above. The Kelly brothers and Kevin Hanlon have traveled the world to paint and share their story about the murals. More information about them is available in the link below.
Walking around the area known as Bogside and hearing from the mural artists it became increasingly clear that much of the conflict regarding The Troubles dealt with civil rights issues. Although there is peace today and no violence has been committed since the peace agreement orchestrated by President Bill Clinton, there is an obvious sense that the two sides of the city, Derry (Irish populated) and Londonderry (English) are very different. The quality of life on the Derry side shoddy--spaces are cramped and the quality of life a little grungier. While the Londonderry side contains greater commercial properties, like malls and retail spaces, the area is brighter and cleaner. There is greater care given to keeping this section pristine while the Bogside, no doubt whom pay the same taxes, does not have the same level of care. Note in the lower photos the following images: the Peace Bridge, the Guild Hall (depicting Londonderry's history in stained glass), the red, white and blue of the curbs (Union Jack colors) and views from the city's walls.