Reasons why I consider myself as Northern Irish

Northern Ireland: British or Irish

Strictly speaking anyone from Northern Ireland (NI) are regarded as being British. Depending upon family circumstances you may have dual citizenship to the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain: A person from Northern Ireland may hold a British and an Irish passport. It is important to note that no matter what passport (British or Irish) a person from NI has they are regarded as British citizens in a court in Northern Ireland. Some laws are passed by Stormont (the NI assembly elected by the people of NI) but the majority have been passed by Parliament (thus the UK government) and all of these laws are enforced in any court in NI.

For religious reasons people in Northern Ireland may identify themselves as being either British or Irish. Most of the Protestant population would say they are British while most Catholics would say they were Irish.

I, however, would identify myself as being Northern Irish.

A photo of the fairly new Titanic building. No matter which angle you look at it, it looks like you are looking at the ship.

A photo of the fairly new Titanic building. No matter which angle you look at it, it looks like you are looking at the ship.

Northern Irish: Why?

Religion does not bother me in the slightest. At the end of the day that is your personal belief, not that of others. I try to avoid the topic of religion most times for this reason and only talk about it with close friends and family (if required !).

British people speak like British citizens, unsurprisingly, whereas Irish people speak like people from the Republic of Ireland.

I, however, speak like a person from Northern Ireland: I consider myself as Northern Irish because I do not speak 100% Irish or 100% British.

Northern Irish car registrations

If you buy a car from NI you will have a Northern Irish number plate. Not a British number plate, nor Republic of Ireland. Northern Irish is all over NI.

Belfast bap

There are some things that are only produced in Northern Ireland. The Belfast Bap is one of them. What is a Belfast Bap? It is a piece of soft bread enclosed in a hard crust. They are quite round, almost the size of half a football. Neither British or Republic of Ireland have Belfast baps.

This adds to a cultural reason as to why I call myself Northern Irish.

Do other people from NI identify themselves as Northern Irish?

Yes. The number of people calling themselves Northern Irish is growing. In 2009 27% of people who live in NI said they regard themselves as Northern Irish.

Being Northern Irish is a happy medium so I like to say where I am from, literally. NI so Northern Irish.

Reference

  1. Life and Times. (2009) Which of these best describes the way you think of yourself? [Online] [Accessed on 10th April 2013] http://is.gd/N3zrLO
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Live and let live!

In an attempt to expand on a previous post about Northern Ireland (NI) and the island of Ireland, I would like to explain a recent incident here, in NI.

Over the weekend, a parade took place across Belfast, NI. This parade had certain conditions, which were made by the Parades Commission, and these conditions led to a little violence. But before I tell you briefly what all this fuss is about, you should know that parades take place throughout the year, here in NI. And most of these parades are taken by “Orange Men” within NI.

The small minority of people took place in a march on Sat 25th Aug 2012, but they made Northern Ireland look like a country that should be less travelled. According to reports, seven police officers were injured, three arrested, and one charged by a small criminal court (Magistrates Court) in NI [1].

Ireland and complexities

To the outsider looking in, the troubles sound a little silly. But for some people here, trouble means more than a matter of principle. It means culture. It can also mean doing the same thing time and time again – yes, this includes bad cultural behaviours, including violence.

In a nut shell, the trouble on Sat relates to the annual 12th July parade. This is taken by “Orange Men” (protestant) who agree that NI should remain apart of the United Kingdom, and therefore they gather each year on the 12th July each and every year. But on the 12th July 2012 these Orange Men passed a Catholic church (St Patrick’s), and purposely stopped outside a Catholic church when it wasn’t supposed to. They didn’t simply stop, they played music (beating their own drums etc.) while passers-by watched.

On this occasion passers-by took videos and photographs of the incident. One of them had a video showing that members of the parade purposely caused a fight with an observer, who happened to be a Catholic. This proved to be a nasty combination. The people who run the parade (Parade Commission) told the Royal Black Institution march (the march which took place on Sat 25 Aug 2012) never to stop outside St Patrick’s church again, but some people within the march on Saturday didn’t take this very well. In essence they didn’t like being told what to do, even by the parades commission — the people who look after the running of all parades within NI. On 25th Aug 2012, the group of marchers took to the same spot in protest for being told off. But like anything in NI, the police gathered to ensure both sides (Catholic vs Protestant) didn’t come too close to one another. In the past, history has proved that these clashes does lead to trouble within the surrounding areas.

Northern Ireland has differences, some people get on with these differences, others like to really annoy others by reminding them of these differences. Of course there are a few people who still like to annoy the other side for the laugh – or craic (pronounced crack: a crack on the pavement), as the locals often say!

Why should everyone just get on with it?

No matter what happened, NI would be so much better if people just got on with it. Don’t you think so? I am sure you work with somebody you don’t particularly like, yet you pass yourself with them to get on with it. Or, your neighbour is a little annoying, but you simply keep chat to a minimum to pass yourself.

These are good examples of living your life. Those who do not get too caught up with the moment of disagreement do better than those who do get caught up in the moment.

The world is beautiful

I hope whenever I reach 50 most people at home (NI) will just pass themselves. NI is a beautiful country, so much so, I would like to share this beauty with you by showing you a few places here:

Giants Causeway

This was made thousands of years ago by a volcano.

Odyssey Arena

A place for entertainment in Belfast. It includes cinema, club, pubs, bowling…

[2]

Why don’t people here get on with others as they might do on a Sat night? Pass yourself if you don’t get on with someone in a pub, or know that the song you dislike is only going to be on for a few minutes – no need to get up and go!

Belfast Landmarks

Landmarks around the city of Belfast

Parliament Buildings

The building where both sides meet, make laws and help each other

Carrick rope bridge

This is very old, but you can pass, one at a time to see part of the wonderful island

I hope you get the idea? No matter what happens, NI will always be great place. I think if everyone here got on with each other it would be a little nicer! By the way, I feel that I need to make something clear, tourists are liked here. The hatred is really for local citizens. And I don’t get commission if you travel to here!

People should get on with their lives, live their own lives, and try to let others live their own live too. If this happened, everyone here, at home, would be much happier. Their is too much negativity at times, people simply like to live today, as if it were yesterday. Sadly, people do like to live in the past. Even when they talk about the future.

I hope you get the jest of what all this fighting is about?

Citations

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19370473
  2. http://www.theodyssey.co.uk/

Island of Ireland history

Today, the news has been filled with a historic decision from a local political party, here on the island of Ireland. Let me tell you, briefly, what it means.

Ireland trouble’s

A few decades ago, the streets of Northern Ireland were riddled with British Army troops, our national police service, alone with many others – including the Republic of Ireland’s police service.

The troubles mainly came about because of the religious difference between people. But not just any religious stance, back then, religion wasn’t just about God, or what you thought was going to happen after you died, but religion meant, and still means (although it is getting a little better) the following for everyone living in Northern Ireland, and Ireland:

What name your parent(s) would give you
Harold, a popular Protestant name. OR Gerard, a popular Catholic name.
What school you went to
School’s here are not based on academic performance, they are also determined by who is on the Board of Governors
What sport you supported as a child, and adult
Celtic Football Club for Catholic’s. OR Ranger’s Football Club for protestant’s
Where you grew up
There are literally areas of Northern Ireland which determine where people can live due to their religious belief.

Although Northern Ireland (NI) has a lot of history, it is getting better. For example, there are now ‘mixed’ areas whereby protestant and catholic’s do live next door to one another. Not between a dividing wall separating two different neighbourhood’s.

Them and us

Even writing this blog post, I have had to keep attention to detail. If I said Catholic first, I followed it by Protestant (such as the third point above). In the next example (of the third first above), I used Protestant first, then followed by Catholic. Many people here don’t think about this balance, leading more and more people here to become more divided.

Parents, unfortunately played, and still play a large role in this divide. What if people were able to go to any school because it has a bigger department they’re interested in? What if, people could choose a football team because of the football abilities, rather than what religion the team are?

Future’s for dreaming

Today has been a positive reinforcement that peace is truly under way, here in Northern Ireland. The biggest Catholic party (Sinn Fein) have decided to meet and shake hands with the Queen. To outsiders, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. But it really does prove that the peace process is actually peaceful. Peace today is about wanting a better future, for all, regardless of who some named after, or what religion one believes.

Today’s history also means that children who were born today, will grow up in a more peaceful, non bigotry manner. The political parties are starting to think like humans, local humans, by doing things the vast majority of people want them to do

I’ll probably revisit this later, but all I wanted to get across is, people can change, places do change, and change is often a very positive thing

Post 84, over and out

How we see the world

Post 72:

Sky, sea & water

Okay, I am sorry if I seemed to have disappeared lately. I am home (on the beautiful island of Ireland) to spend Easter with my family and friends. But this post is really inspired by the short aeroplane journey to get here!

Simple things

I don’t really have a lot of time to investigate, but I am sure someone once said:

It’s the simple things in life that make the biggest difference

If no one said that, then I’ll happily take credit for that. But what I am trying to get at is that life is full of simple things which we often take for granted. That sometimes includes family and friends. Let me explain better:

  • On the plane I was in the sky for about 45 minutes, but when on earth getting on with my life, I often forget that the sky is there in all its beauty, right above our heads
  • As I was landing in to beautiful Belfast, the fields surrounded the resediential areas – but do we appreciate green things enough?
  • As I was flying over the Isle of Man, I noticed that they too are an island (much, much, much smaller) but yet they are surrounded by lovely calm water too

Appreciate the simple things

After really seeing these simple things (water, fields, blue sky) I really thought that our world is really nice, and it would be even nicer if we appreciated how nice our world actually is. Our sky will continue to change, regardless of what we feel like. The sea can go from one of calm to smashing waves due to the wind. But no matter what happens to these simple things, we don’t really see them as a huge change. Or at least, I didn’t until this post!

Thanks for letting me share some of the many simple things of life in this short and sweet post

Post 72, over and out