Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Erin Go Bragh

St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland and is buried in Northern Ireland - before Ireland was divided. It seems that there is peace there now, for which I am glad. The years of terrorism from the IRA and the response from militant Protestants were hard years. So many innocents were killed from the bombs laid to make political points. By and large, Ireland is a modern, peaceful country, both North and South. I lived across the street from a Catholic family who were quite well off and sent their children to private schools. At the time I lived there, things were quiet, but then in the late sixties it seemed all hell broke loose with IRA involvement. Northern Ireland is an area where many citizens have Scottish heritage. But of course they are Irish, too. This is hard to explain, sometimes. Northern Irish are Irish, but they are British subjects and have British nationality, unlike those in the Irish Republic. As far as I know, this didn't bother anybody, North or South - unless they were involved in political activity.
So, I lived in Belfast, a lovely area in an attached house with a good sized garden. My father worked as a foreman in the Belfast Ropeworks, which is now defunct. It was near the Harland and Wolff shipyards. Most of the family on both sides lived nearby, either closer to the shipyards or like us, slightly out of town in a suburban setting. I have a lot of happy memories of my childhood. In spite of the fact that most of the time, World War II was raging around us. There was some bombing and the town was full of "Yanks." My cousin married one and became a war bride.
I have gone back once but now all my aunts and uncles have passed away and some of my cousins also. Nevertheless those who are of the next generation still live and work there. Maybe I will get the opportunity to go back one more time. To see the Mountains of Mourne which sweep down to the sea.

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