Easter Week in Northern Ireland

After Belfast we ended up in another Northern Ireland. No walls, nothing, no signs of partition. However, many placards of political parties on the lampposts along the road because of the elections in May.

We spend the Easter week on the north coast. We have a (holiday) home through HomeExchange. Over the caravans we see the coast. Just below us, families camp with caravans and tents.

It will be a week of showers but also clear spells. Rain or shine, there is a lot of walking along the coasts. Children, grandchildren, dogs are let out.

One of ‘my teenagers’, Derek, has been coordinator of the Londonderry Bands Forum since 2013 and from the organisation New I Gate, Arts & Culture Center, where the Londonderry Bands Forum is part of.. We already looked him up this week in Londonderry slash Derry as they say here. (Londonderry roughly for the loyalists/unionists/protestants and Derry for catholic republicans). Derek has been a member of the William King Memorial Flute Band from an early age.

The marching bands are a well-known phenomenon in Northern Ireland. Especially the band that perform during parades, among others. the Orange Marches. But there are many more types. I had seen online that on Good Friday there would be a parade in Ballycastle. That turned out to be a touching ‘procession’ of a handful of people behind a wooden cross. Unfortunately without music. The ‘Minister’ delivered a sermon in the middle of the street in the center of the town about tolerance, Ukraine and peace of course.

Besides the marching bands there is of course Irish music. A completely different branch of music. Sinn Fein and the Presbyterian Church have done a lot to keep that music alive as well. More and more young people are also practicing this. In a pub in Portrush, musicians gather every Thursday evening to play.

Tomorrow we leave for Londonderry/Derry for ten days to see some of ‘my teenagers’ again. And I’m realizing more and more that the generation of Northern Irish who lived through the Troubles view society differently than the younger generation that didn’t experience the conflicts first-hand. And that many Northern Irish say they are not interested in politics because the politicians seem to live in a different world. To be honest, I see more and more similarities with the situation in the Netherlands in that area.