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Living in Ireland

Northern Ireland and its Monumental Sites

We want to apologise to our readers for ignoring Northern Ireland and not writing any posts about this part of Ireland. So now we are eager to fix that mistake.

Officially, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and of course England are all part of Great Britain. But it is still a fact that Northern Ireland, also know as the province of Ulster plays as big a part in Irish history as any other province in Ireland and shares so much of Ireland’s cultural roots that saying it is a different country isn’t 100% true.

Past the borders of Ireland and England, you need to have two separate visas to visit Ireland and Northern Ireland so in that case they are counted as two different countries. But when you venture from Ireland to Northern Ireland and experience no difference what so ever you realise that it’s not that simple.

County Antrim in North Ireland

And under further study, the statement that they aren’t exactly different countries becomes more and more true. Not going into the finer details of the war Ireland had for its independence, we will note that after 26 counties of Ireland got their independence in 1921, 6 counties were left under British rule. That is where this story gets interesting.

Those six counties got the choice to either stay as part of Great Brittan or become part of the Republic of Ireland. But the majority of Protestants in this province who were in favour of being part of Great Brittan overruled the minority of Catholics that wanted to become part of the Republic of Ireland so in the end Northern Ireland decided to stay part of the United Kingdom (which is the official name for Great Britain).

This is that fact that serves as the starting point for all the bloody conflicts and acts of terrorism in not only Northern Ireland but also in Great Britain. In the 1980’s repeated efforts to hold the election again were called off because the Catholics living in Ulster knew they would lose and didn’t participate.

North Ireland

In 1998 the striving of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Brittan for peace led to the Belfast Agreement or how it is also sometimes called the ‘Agreement of Good Friday’. This agreement stated that Northern Ireland will be ruled by its own government and an election is needed to decide weather Northern Ireland becomes a part of Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland.

The importance of this agreement is illustrated in the National Wax Museum in Dublin, where there is a scene depicting this event.

In Summer 2005 the IRA (Irish Republican Army), who ever since the division of the island into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, tried to resolve the problem of reunification, announced the end of armed war.

Dunluce Castle

Currently, Ireland is watched over by a Coordinated Council which consists of 4 people plus representatives from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the U.S.A. Of course a long term solution for this problem has not yet been made, but the fact that Ireland was visited by the Queen of Great Brittan, Elizabeth II, in Spring of 2011 proved that everyone wants a peaceful solution for the dilemma of Northern Ireland.

From what we have stated earlier, we would like to note that, visiting Northern Ireland as a tourist is not only possible, but relatively safe compared to visiting other European countries. And from July 2011 to October 2012, you can use a British visa to travel to Ireland. This was decided on the eve of the 2012 Olympic Games that are going to take place in London.

Giant's Causeway

Despite its rather small territorial area, Northern Ireland, which you can explore in under a couple of hours, and to all of explore all of nature’s beauty and the capital city of Belfast you will need just over a day. So it’s not a surprise that the author of the famous saga of the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’, Carl Staples Lewis, who was born in Northern Ireland was in love with these places.

From our own experiences we can recommend the following places. Firstly you must visit the ‘Giant’s Causeway’. This place fells like ‘an alien planet’, nothing like something that could be made by nature! Even the entire costal county of Antrim and Northern Ireland, where this wonder is located, is counted as one of the World's Great Road Journeys.

Apart from the natural beauty of the northern cost of Ireland, you will probably be tempted to visit the museum of the old Bushmills Distillery and walk over the abyss on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Lovers of ancient castles, after visiting the ruins of Dunluce Castle, will be amazed by its location and would be able to visit the small tourist office in the castle.

Lovers of golf will also be in for a surprise. No far from the castle we just talked about in a town called Portrush, there is a golf club that is officially the fifth best golf club in Ireland.

If we add Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast, to the list above then you can easily spend at least a week getting to know the province of Ulster. In 2012 it will be the 100th anniversary of the day when the Titanic began its voyage. In case you didn’t know this tragic, oceanic titan was built in Belfast.

We will talk more about Northern Ireland in our next posts.

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