Catholics vs. Protestants by Tom Callanan

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Today we had the opportunity to tour the wall that divides the Catholic and Protestant communities occupying the outskirts of Belfast.  The tour guides we had this morning were extremely educated on the troubles that plagued Belfast from 1969 to 1998 because they witnessed and lived through the horrible bombings and murders that took place between the two sides.  What I found interesting is that the wall extended allthe way to the center of the city, but once it stopped Protestants and Catholics coincided in harmony downtown at local pubs

IMG_0212.JPGand businesses like the troubles did not even exist at the time.  We learned a lot about both religions and what beliefs they stood for and why they sought power over the other. I myself am a descendant of an Irish Catholic IRA volunteer who fought against the Protestants and the English power during these troubles, so it was very cool to expand my knowledge on what exactly was happening in Belfast at the time. One of the most humbling things was being able to sign the wall alongside millions of others that divides the two in such a dramatic way.  During our tour, I had the pleasure of riding in the back of Billy’s cab, who is an Irish Protestant and currently lives on Shankill St., the most recognizable Protestant street during the troubles.  Although Billy is a Protestant, and one would assume that there is still much tension between the two religious groups even after the signing of Belfast agreement just 19 years ago, he has much respect for the Catholics and acknowledges that the violence during the troubles was useless and cost the lives of innocent young men and women.

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