Yesterday, my husband was browsing Fox News (as he is wont to do when not on HotAir.com), and came across this article on the release of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams following questioning regarding the IRA murder of a widow in 1972 and the subsequent outrage from the Protestant community in Northern Ireland.
I have many, many thoughts on this development. Chief among them is where my mother was in 1972, because I’m pretty sure if a guy with an Irish accent told her to off a widow with ten kids, she’d do it, because surely they asked for it. 26+6=1, baby.
I wrote a paper in grad school on the Good Friday Accords and spent a lot of time going through Adams’ writings and despite my general distrust of the IRA as a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION, MOTHER I do believe that Adams softened over time and the peace process would not have gone as smoothly as it did without his pushing Sinn Fein to relent on some of the sticking points on which they had previously refused to budge.
I mean, by the time he published Hope and History, he was practically moderate…wait a second. That picture. Look at that picture there.
Yeah, that one. I’ve been there! I went to church there!
Why did you go to church there, you ask? Kathleen, it’s the site of political protest. It’s scary. There’s barbed wire and angry artwork and violent-looking people.
Yeah, I know.
See, if you’re even in a region torn apart by sectarian violence and distrust (no matter how well things are going recently), maybe don’t have me plan your itinerary.
Buzz and I honeymooned in Ireland. It was amazing. We had an awesome time. It was wonderful.
And, okay, the TSA guy rummaged through my underwear which you REALLY DON’T WANT THEM DOING ON YOUR HONEYMOON and I didn’t have my luggage until the day before we flew home and I was pretty sure we were going to be murdered in a country house by a ghost widower, but we also got to stay in a castle with a four-poster bed and a claw foot tub in the middle of the living room. So…it evened out.
But we couldn’t just do the normal Ireland tour, no. Pssh. That’s for wusses. I’m a historian! There will be no silly kissing of the Blarney stone here! Ha! I’m going to Belfast! And Omagh! I shall study and learn things and teach Buzz things and he can’t leave me because we’re married hahahaha.
Belfast was great. It was awesome. I loved it. We stayed in Queen’s Quarter at an adorable hotel that I was worried was going to be too much like an American chain but turned out to be delightfully bland and non-rapey after our previous stay (that’s a blog post for a different day.) We wandered around town, had dinner at an Italian place, the nice Polish woman at the front desk tracked down my luggage; it was a ball.
We went to Queen’s College and I got a t-shirt that fit for all of five minutes when we got home before I got pregnant. I hung out with Galileo and took a lot of selfies.
We discovered that in the UK they have beans for breakfast. Buzz was very impressed.
We went to the Giant’s Causeway, which was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. We had so much fun hiking up the hard trail and then visiting Bushmills to reward ourselves.
We were also there over a weekend. I knew we’d be there over a weekend, and so I figured out a Mass to attend. Which I did by googling “Catholic churches in Belfast” and then picking the one with the prettiest sounding name. (Matt helpfully queried, “We’re going to a Catholic church in Northern Ireland? I responded, “Uh, yeah, they have Catholics. That’s why there was a problem.”)
Ooh! St. Peter’s Cathedral! That sounds awesome! We’re going there! We’ve got the car out, we’ll stop for dinner and maybe walk around a little…
Oh. Oh. My. So that’s literally on the Falls Road. Across from all this lovely protest mural artwork.
And this one.
Right near where that guy back up at the beginning of the post was standing.
Yeah. We didn’t get dinner there that night.
And we also learned that even though the guidebooks say everything is totally fine omg, Belfast is a teensy weensy bit scary when you hang out around the barbed wire.
In case you were wondering, we got depressed and decided to scrap Omagh the next day. We went to Belleek instead.
Because if anything says happiness and we’re fine, no worries, no IRA here, it’s some painted porcelain