Saturday, 15 August 2009

Our Wee Home

Today Neil and I took Chloe to see the Tall Ships which are docked in Belfast at the minute. Visiting the ships with Chloe meant a lot to me as I remember my Dad taking me the last time they were here, which was in 1991 (I was only 5). So I really wanted to take my daughter there. We took loads of photo's.Well, I have never seen Belfast so busy. The crowds were unreal; people everywhere. But it was great. They had the ships set over 2 docks and a continental market and funfair. The only problem we had was with the pram. There were just so many people. We had to be ruthless and mow people down in order to get moving. But it was a really good day. Northern Ireland, and in particular Belfast, gets a bad press because of the Troubles. It was the 40th anniversary of the start of the Troubles a week back and I thought that it was wonderful that the visit of the Tall Ships coincided with that. The last time they were here people were still fighting with vigour. The Troubles really were in full swing. And I wondered how different it must seem now to those same people visiting this year. Ok, so some people are still fighting, but we have a ceasefire which, for the most part, is upheld. There's still a heavy police presence, but I'm sure the absence of the army was very conspicuous.
We stopped for a few minutes to watch an air show and I found myself crowd watching. And I saw guys in Celtic tops wandering amongst guys in Rangers one. One's from the Falls amongst the Shankill boys. And nobody cared. Everyone was just enjoying themselves. There were black faces, white faces, asians, gays, the whole mix. And that's great! After all the Troubles and the atrocities people have seen, including members of my own family, it's about time people started enjoying themselves. I love the fact that Belfast is becoming so multi-cultural.
And as I'm Standing there looking out over the sea, for the first time in my life I felt proud of our wee home - proud to be Irish. Northern Ireland's wonderful. She really does deserve peace.

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