The north of Ireland is rugged and green. A treeless landscape, crisscrossed by waterfalls and small streams. Wind, rain and lava have shaped the soil and the mountains, a deep discord and a bloody history the society.
Those who wish to travel through Northern Ireland must be prepared for harsh weather and a troubled past whose scars mark people and cities. Beauty and horror can be just a stone’s throw apart here.
Belfast and Derry-Londonderry are working-class cities. Industry created jobs here, and when industry ailed, the jobs fell away. Gone are the days when people formed steel with pure muscle power and used it to build the largest ship in the world: the Titanic. The heavy-duty cranes Samson and Goliath still tower some 100 meters into the air at the docks – silent, rusting witnesses to a time when order books were full. Everything seemed possible, except disaster. And nevertheless, it is the one that one encounters in every street.
Fences and walls that separate entire neighborhoods in Belfast, keeping Catholics and Protestants apart. Colorful murals that remind, tell, warn. The Peace Bridge in Derry, which aims to bring together unionists on the east and nationalists on the west side of the Foyle River.
Northern Ireland is a country steeped in politics and history. The scars of the Northern Ireland conflict have never healed. The risk of violence flaring up again seems all too possible. Brexit showed how fragile peace is.