Reply To: What to do in Northern Ireland


The situation is much better in NI than it has been for a very long time (although year to year it changes.) At this point in time, the ethnic conflicts are confined to the working class neighborhoods -- the higher you go in the scale, the less it seemed to matter (this is very unlike the question of race in America.) I would recommend following the lead of the people you are with; you probably won't come to understand the emotional issues deeply enough to contribute your own opinions when you do come across an attitude guided by the history of conflict, but it is pretty easy to 'stay out of trouble' if you do what you'd ordinarily do: hang out with people as individuals, and avoid national stereotypes in your own talk ('oh, is this how the Irish do it? Is this how the British do it?'). This is similar to what you'd do in the states when faced with a mixed-race group of friends, but, again, because Protestant and Catholic are mixed by class as well as being (to the eye) indistinguishable, you will find it much easier than a NI person coming over here.

You will still find some disturbing reminders, however, even if you stay out of the bad neighborhoods (I find 'terrorism tours' hideous, and I don't recommend going on one -- respect the desires of people who want to move on from history.) For example, you may see military trucks (sometimes scary-looking) from time to time. But here in New York we have soliders in the subway post 9/11 -- it's not something we're proud of, and we'd rather not talk about it in casual conversation.

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Name : John29259, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 25, City : New York City, State : NY Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class,