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conflict, bias, and propaganda in belfast

Happy Wednesday! You made it halfway through the week! I know times are still weird right now. Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe it’s yoga, meditation, running, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends. Whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break.

If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “poolbeg lighthouse” - you can click right here to catch up on one of my favorite runs just outside Dublin City Centre that put me 4 km out into Dublin Bay. Also, if you didn’t get the chance to cast your free daily vote for me to be the next #MaximCoverGirl, you can click here to vote or click here to read about why it’s important to me (and then vote!). You can vote once every twenty-four hours for free, and I am so grateful for your support! Voting for round 5 ends tomorrow night, Thursday July 2nd, and I need to be in first place in order to advance to the quarterfinals, so I’d love your support to make it through to the next round! Thank you for everything so far!! If you’re all caught up on the adventures thus far and Maxim Cover Girl voting, then buckle up! Let’s continue our adventures and head up to Northern Ireland!

My boyfriend and I recently hung some of my photography around the house, including a photo I took in Belfast at the Belfast Peace Wall, pictured at the top of this page and hanging in our Pop Art bathroom (yes, we have a pop art bathroom because who doesn’t want to look at some cool art while they poo or wee?). The first time I saw the Belfast Peace Wall (when these photos were taken) I was on my own on a very small five-person, mid-week tour.

The Peace Walls exist to this day in order to encourage peace instead of continuing the same violence that occurred in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. There have been motions in the past to remove the peace walls, but the residents of the area have chosen to keep them standing. If you’ve heard of the Belfast Peace Walls before, I’m sure you’ve heard of the conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants referred to as The Troubles, which took place mainly from the late 1960s until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. You may even recognize some of the history from the U2 song "Sunday Bloody Sunday." The reasoning behind the conflicting groups being referred to as the Catholics and Protestants was not actually because the Troubles were a religious conflict but because of Northern Ireland being a territory belonging to the United Kingdom. Unionists (mostly Ulster Protestants) wanted Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, while Irish Nationalists (mostly Irish Catholics) wanted Northern Ireland to leave the UK in order to join a united Ireland (since they are all part of the same land mass).

There are still undercurrents of this conflict in Belfast today. If you have the opportunity one day to take a black taxi tour through The Falls of Belfast to see the main area hit hardest by The Troubles, you can feel the tension that still exists today. Although mostly peaceful with curfews still in place that involve closing guarded gates of the Peace Walls every night, there are numerous murals painted on either side of the Peace Wall’s neighborhoods that honor the lives lost on either side (of both the UVF and the IRA) while also condemning the opposition’s murderers. It is truly a case study in political, economical, and emotional conflict, as well as the use of murals and art as propaganda for a specific cause.

I took the Belfast black taxi tour on more than one occasion while I lived in Ireland, and given the chance to return and take it again, I would. The tour can also be influenced by the driver you get. I’ve had black taxi drivers with a Catholic point of view and drivers with the Protestant point of view, and although the tour is supposed to be non-biased, the bias shines through in the opposing perspectives

Have you ever encountered conflict where both sides were convinced their cause was the right and just cause? I don't think it's too big a stretch to find conflict today given the current state of the world; conflict is everywhere. Is there a specific conflict of either current or past times that fascinates you more than others? Let me know. Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.

And please, if you have 10-15 seconds to spare, I would really appreciate your daily vote for me to be Maxim Cover Girl 2020. Click here to vote! Voting for round five ends tomorrow night, Thursday July 2nd, and I need to be in first place by the time voting is over in order to advance to the quarterfinals!! I would really appreciate your help and support as I continue to try and become the next #MaximCoverGirl by moving ahead into round 6/the quarterfinals of the competition! Thanks for your support! Click here or on the photo above to vote!



P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):

1. Won't you join me?

2. grateful for starbucks and sandymount strand

3. Once Upon a December in the National Gallery

4. plant a smooch for that gift of gab

5. may the 4th be with you: Dingle style

6. cinco de mayo: the best Mexican food in Dublin

7. pizza in roma

8. mussolini’s window and the philosophers’ metro stop

9. father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife

10. it's the vatican, not the vatican't

11. spoiler alert: i did not lose my hand

12. more pizza and gelato and Neptune, oh my

13. craft beer, romper season, and volcano magic

14. bus singalongs and the okey dokey karaoke origin story

15. the beginning of the journey to the land of outlander

16. the boy who lived and the musical rapper

17. oh i just can't wait to be kingggg

18. fudge and haggis, quite the dynamic duo

19. the banshee labyrinth... or, my first time trying buckfast

20. the world's most magical toilet

21. gwyneth paltrow's (improv) sliding doors

22. scottish sombreros and jam, thank you

23. bob seger, a cèilidh, and arthur's seat

24. the next maxim cover girl!! 25. you can vote now!!

26. kindness at… the airport??

27. conversations with strangers and #basic meals

28. aren't gas stations amazing?!

29. not just mac's... supermac's

30. American vs. European Cell Phone Providers

31. brown bread ice cream

32. Black Lives Matter

33. technology and theatre

34. a love of Dublin pizza: Manifesto

35. a love of Dublin pizza: Dublin Pizza Company

36. a love of Dublin pizza: with my dad

37. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

38. thank you! round 2!

39. a love of Dublin pizza: and every other pizza

40. ahh-oooooh werewolves of london

41. a special london edition nerd alert

42. defying gravity is a WICKED good time

43. that wanker Van Morrison

44. The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre

45. LA girls love London green juice

46. Super Bowl LII Champs at Wembley

47. champagne fizz and fruity cocktails

48. How-to: DIY Pallet Garden

49. dublin tattoo magic

50. juneteenth

51. thank you! Maxim round 4!

52. dublin bog bodies

53. dún laoghaire ice cream

54. local celeb sighting

55. 13.1 in Dublin

56. thank you! Maxim round 5!

57. every girl likes a bad boy

58. poolbeg lighthouse

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