Cead Mile Failte
On 5th November five sixth form students made the short trip to Belfast in a bid to explore the society upon which much their A-Level History studies are based.
After an amazingly short flight, they began learning about the everyday life in a country which was not so long ago in the midst of a fierce political conflict.
We visited the Northern Ireland parliament buildings at Stormont, and sat in on a meeting of the executive, taking a great opportunity to hear the First and Deputy -First Ministers speak. The open-top bus tour, (in near Arctic conditions!), was a great opportunity to see the sights of the city and learn about its history and heritage.
Pupils were shocked to learn of the fact that ‘peace walls’ still divide many areas of Belfast. Seeing the nature of life in the city, and the difficult conditions in which some people are still forced to live brought to life the work that the students have been doing in class. The trip served to foster a real sense of empathy within those involved, giving them a valuable perspective from which to complete their coursework.
Pupils did take the chance to avail of the revamped Belfast City Centre, and even forced Mr. Johnston to overcome his fear of heights to make it to the viewing platform on top of the Victoria Square shopping complex (which moves, might I add!-Mr J). Briefly meeting with Mr. and Mrs. Johnston gave the pupils a valuable perspective from a couple who lived through the period being studied and a great question and answer session followed. In all this was a very worthwhile trip; it was extremely rewarding for those involved, both academically and culturally.