There is total segregation in Northern Ireland. Today. Flags flying on lampposts designate either a Catholic or Protestant area. There are flags everywhere. Protestants do not go into Catholic areas. Catholics don’t go into Protestant areas. The conflict lasted from 1968 to 1998, when peace was declared.
Even in the cemetery in Belfast, a wall that runs underground to separate the buried Catholics from the Protestants so the spirits cannot see each other or fight each other after death. I am not kidding. We went to the cemetery. There is even a wall, that according to our guide of the area, is never coming down. The wall stops a Protestant residents from seeing their Catholic neighbors across the road.
It is hard to move on and change things, when you live in an area in Belfast where every wall acts as a reminder of the past and what happened, and continues to promote the division and hate of the past. There are definitely attempts being made to foster reconciliation, but so many people we met are afraid to speak out about their feelings and even talk about the “other” side for fear of being overheard. They are still afraid of each other. It feels like violence simmers just under the surface of life here.
Tragic, as this is an incredibly beautiful country and the standard of living here appears really good. History repeats itself over and over, and man does not seem to learn from prior mistakes. The history of Ireland, going back centuries is a clear manifestation of that. It makes me fearful for what will happen next in the USA if we are not careful. We may spiral down into something similar that happened in Ireland on Bloody Sunday. I highly recommend that you watch that movie. You can watch it free on this link: