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#4351512 - 04/17/17 12:13 AM OT - Back From Ireland, and what an education I got.  
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OvStachel Offline
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OvStachel  Offline
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First, I just want to say any statement I make is by no means meant to instigate, or insult anyone that is Irish, or of Irish decent... you have to respect that not being from Ireland, growing up watching TV our new channels were biased and definitely not reporting both sides of the story.

OK... The Irish... I grew up in a town called Lindenhurst, NY which was Irish, Italian, and German... if you were anything else, you were a minority... period. It was a town that had no culture clashes, or wars or gangs... but it was common to have friends of 1st or 2nd generation immigrant parents. I was very used to the music, food and fun of the Irish.. never really knowing what it meant to be Irish, or what went on in that region. My Irish friends (and I had a lot) treated me like a brother and never held my Italian (well Sicilian really) background against me... I was that 'dark haired Italian kid' to many of my red-headed/fair skinned Irish friends.

I had been to Ireland before and enjoyed it immensely... the Southern section (the Connemara) is amazing by all rights. The people were friendly and the food/beer was outstanding. What amazed me ever more was how familiar everyone looked to me, like I had seen so many faces before... maybe being from an Irish Immigrant town? LOL!

So this trip we decided to hit the big 'D' and go north, into Northern Ireland, through Belfast and see the Causeway of Giants... back to Dublin for a day and of course the Guinness Factory...!!!!

From the moment we arrived in Dublin, I began to learn about 'The Troubles' and how much violence had come to Dublin over the course of the past 100+ years. I began to learn about the Kilmannan Gaol, the Uprisings, the Post Office.. the riots.. shootings... bombing... wow... I had no idea any of this ever took place. In the US, we learned about how the Irish suffered famines, plagues, being poor which drove many to come to the US. I'd never heard of such things that had happened in Dublin...

Belfast... well, this is where it became an true eye-opener. When we arrived in Belfast, we had an option to take a guided Taxi tour of the City and have a first had look at all the places that were effected by 'The Troubles', who the IRA and UVF (and all others that were involved) were and what happened across the city during all the conflict.... or go to the Titanic museum. Well... as you can imagine... Taxi Tour... the Titanic never really held my interest past "man builds ship, man sinks unsinkable ship"... so off we went in a black cab with a driver that was very passionate, however very fair and balanced in his description of both sides. My ignorance to the Irish conflict was immediately apparent to this gentleman, and he opened my eyes like I've been blind my whole life. We saw it all from both sides... Sinn Fein HQ, UVF HQ on Shankill road... the Peace Wall... Bloody Sunday... Divis Tower.. all of it that could be crammed into an 1.5 hour tour. Wow.. my head was spinning from all the murals, memorials and stories of bloodshed, hangings, bombings.. conflict... all recently and never really explained on any news program I've ever seen on our TV in the US.

All I ever knew was that the IRA used to blow the crap out of things and I used to think what a bunch of idiots for killing their own people... but I was the idiot because I was totally ignorant to the causes that both sides were fighting for. Catholic vs Protestant... Republic vs Loyalists... brother vs brother.. and on.

At the end of the tour I was in near tears to the thought of such good people being at such odds with each other... again, thinking back to all my friends and the people I knew growing up. I'm no expert on world politics, and nor did I ever claim to be. In the US, we had our shares of brutal Civil Wars, Civil Rights Movements, shooting, killings.. bombing yeah... and of course... 911.... but for some reason, all that I learned in Belfast really hit a nerve. I guess it's because I've never met an Irishmen I didn't like and I was always treated very well by them. I never saw them to be at such odds with each other... and again... having the News coverage so vague and simplistic... I really did not have a firm grasp on the situation until I took that Taxi tour.

I gathered my thoughts and was very thankful for the tour. I had nothing to say other than that I was in shock... I was educated that day, and it will be an education I will never forget.

All the best,

OvS


The Black Baron of Boistrancourt returns!!

I'd rather die fighting, than live for nothing. - Gen. G.S. Patton
#4351560 - 04/17/17 10:21 AM Re: OT - Back From Ireland, and what an education I got. [Re: OvStachel]  
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Maeran Offline
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Maeran  Offline
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UK
Thankyou for sharing your experience, and in such a well worded fashion too.

I grew up in England during the troubles. While it wasn't a full blown war, it was a very nasty time that still leaves a scar. The IRA set off bombs in towns near where I lived as a child. In Belfast itself, things were far far worse.

But the peace process has been enormously successful. There have been some wrinkles lately at Storm on, but I think that the peace will hold. It's a hard truth that in order to have peace, you have to talk to someone who wants you dead. But here it has worked.

#4351581 - 04/17/17 12:12 PM Re: OT - Back From Ireland, and what an education I got. [Re: OvStachel]  
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SkyHigh Offline
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SkyHigh  Offline
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Ireland
I am Irish and have lived here all my life. The Troubles you describe came about because after Independence was achieved in 1921(and we were no primitive Third World country, but one that arguably had a more advanced civilisation than the English when we were invaded back in the twelfth century), the British gerrymandered one corner of Ireland which they continued to occupy with an artificial two-thirds British nationalist majority. Instead of showing some generosity to the Irish nationalist minority, these 'unionists' proceeded to create a completely British state and obliterated all official Irish identity. The Irish nationalists, who just happened to be all Catholics-but this was never primarily a religious conflict-were discriminated against in public service employment and by many unionist private employers.

Eventually, in parallel with civil rights causes elsewhere, particularly in the United States, the Irish nationalists began to demonstrate for their rights. Unfortunately, the unionist establishment, despite some with more vision who were dismissed, showed no generosity and clamped down violently, when some generosity and a willingness to acknowledge a right to be Irish in a part of Ireland would have satisfied most Irish nationalists at the time. This intransigence unfortunately opened the door for the entrance of extremists and the dogs of war were let loose. Thirty years of violence and atrocity resulted before both sides finally re-entered a dialogue that could and should have been undertaken from the beginning. Demographic change now sees both nationalities within the state at near parity, ensuring neither side can now dominate the other and resort to violence seems very unlikely, with almost no support. An unnecessary, but entirely and typically human, tragedy.

#4351662 - 04/17/17 05:19 PM Re: OT - Back From Ireland, and what an education I got. [Re: OvStachel]  
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Trooper117 Offline
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Trooper117  Offline
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UK
I was serving in the British army during that period... all bad memories on my part and quite a few of my friends were killed by the terrorists.
We all knew that much of the weaponry and explosives that were being used to kill us and the police and security officials, was paid for through their ability to gather funds from the US through NORAID... (Irish northern Aid Commitee)
That leaves a lasting impression on me... that is all I will say on the matter.

#4351665 - 04/17/17 05:33 PM Re: OT - Back From Ireland, and what an education I got. [Re: OvStachel]  
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SkyHigh Offline
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SkyHigh  Offline
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Ireland
I never contributed a penny, to the IRA, who were, because of a proper mandate and their methods, aptly described as terrorists, but in all honesty I can't muster any sympathy for the soldiers of a foreign army of occupation in my own country.

#4351671 - 04/17/17 05:39 PM Re: OT - Back From Ireland, and what an education I got. [Re: OvStachel]  
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,577
Polovski Online content
Polovski  Online Content

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Thanks OvS - always good to hear both sides of any conflict, and sometimes there is no 100% wrong or right. on one side but I think as this is a strongly felt political subject, and some will have very strong views on this, it is best to take it any further discussion to another forum on SimHQ. So I'll lock this for now.

Thanks

Last edited by Polovski; 04/17/17 05:40 PM.

Regards,

Polovski,
OBD Software, developers of the fabulously immersive
"WINGS: Over Flanders Fields" WW1 Sim.
http://www.overflandersfields.com

Moderated by  Polovski, Sandbagger 

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