Whats your opinion of Northern Ireland?

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Whats your opinion of Northern Ireland?

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1Clerk30
Oct 26, 2008, 11:49am

I am from Northern Ireland and would like to find out how my country is viewed by the English, Scotish and Welsh? In particular if we are percieved as valued members of the union?

2charbutton
Oct 27, 2008, 6:02am

Really interesting question.

It's the part of the union that I know least about - I'm English, my partner's Welsh and part of my family's Scottish but I have no NI connections.

I suppose my main view is that it's a kind of a mix of Ireland and the UK. For example, abortion is legal here, but not in NI as it isn't in the Republic. Do you feel that the country has a dual identity?

3sarahemmm
Oct 27, 2008, 7:04am

I have to say that I mostly think of everyone 'over there' as Irish, without further subdivision. But then, I have never visited Ireland and don't know any Irish of either persuasion.

Can't say I have ever stopped to think of any group as not/being valued members. I guess I feel that if you want to be in the group, then that's just fine. Kind of like the Falkland Islanders - they want to be British, so let them.

Do you feel 'different' from the inhabitants of Eire? How about the Welsh/English/Scots?

I'll be interested in your response to charbutton's question too.

Speaking personally, I feel a strong affinity for North Wales, as that is where I spent my teens and twenties; now I live in East Anglia, which is a bit different. I wouldn't want either of them to devolve, and I do rather think devolution is not the best idea in today's world of huge federal zones (EU, USA) and vast corporations. For me, its more of a 'my local area' interest - I like to hear the news from Mold (my hometown) and its always lovely to see mountains and hear Welsh accents when I visit.

Just my 2p.

4Clerk30
Oct 27, 2008, 7:40am

In response to Charbutton I can say that the people of Northern Ireland have an unwanted dual identity. Generally speaking the Protestant/Unionist population want to remain part of the UK and consider themselves British. On the other hand the Catholic/Nationalist population want to have a united Ireland with no part in the UK and no claim to be British, they consider themselves Irish. In fact it can be seen as very offensive to call the unionists Irish or the Nationalists British. We have the option to choose a British or an Irish Passport.

In response to Sarahemmm: In my opinion Northern Irelands problem is that we have struggled to develop our own identity. Instead the Nationalists have tried to be Irish and the Unionists have tried to be british. I feel different from the people of the Republic of Ireland, whilst feeling similar to those of Scotland and England. This however is most likely just a refelction of my background and upbringing. Wales is different, I have only ever passed through it on my way to England. I really cant say I feel any similarities with the people of wales.

5sarahemmm
Oct 28, 2008, 3:58am

I'm interested that you feel similar to Scots and English, but not Welsh - or is that just because you have links with Scotland and none with Wales? Both groups are Celts, after all. I think many Welsh would feel closer to a Scto than to an English person.

6rubicon528
Sep 20, 2009, 2:14am

I am English but have lived in Wales. My daughter regards herself as Welsh as she was born there, grew up there, and still lives there.

It was only within the last couple of years that I have been to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

I visited Belfast on a day trip and was impressed with the City which seems to have a great deal going for it. My initial feeling was that Belfast appears similar to Bristol. Travelling around the City on the open top bus tour it's obvious that there are still the big sectarian divides in the community and I have since read some of the vile messages on the internet that shows the continuing hatred that festers there. Yet while in Belfast I got a sense that the majority of people want to move on and learn to live together. With more peaceful times of co-operation comes financial investment and hopefully prosperity.

Geographically I think it would make sense if NI were part of a united Ireland but understand the views of Unionists. While I haven't had the opportunity to explore the countryside of Ireland I would very much like to return to the Island which seems a wonderful place.

7BobH1
Dic 10, 2009, 6:49pm

I definitely think of you as one of us. There has been so much movement of people throughout the UK, that I am probably more closely related to you than I am to my next door neighbour.

Frankly I think we are all Europeans anyway, and the sooner we move back to the 18 hundreds when there were no border guards or passports the better. The latest financial crisis has shown us all that we're in it together, lets start cooperating.

8VivienneR
Jul 14, 2010, 1:59pm

I'm from Northern Ireland and have lived in Canada for a long time. When I visit family I am always impressed by the prosperity and how shops and streets are thronged with people doing business. No one is interested in political agenda and just want to get on with life. This is similar to the Northern Ireland I remember from my youth when we only heard about "the troubles" in the media. Northern Ireland is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. On my last visit I was able to check out historic sites, museums and other places of interest. They are all first class - entertaining, educational, and very well done. On a slow day in the off season, my husband and I were the only tourists at Navan Fort, an ancient monument in Co. Armagh. An archaeologist joined us to provide a very personalized tour. This is so typical of the friendliness in Northern Ireland. Wonderful country.

9Chribat100
Sep 28, 2010, 1:21pm

I'm Welsh.though I've lived in England most of my life. I have worked with a number of colleagues from N Ireland-and visited through work. Cant think of any who havent been warm and friendly-and the welcome over there was quite brilliant! Definitely think of it as part of UK. Not at all nationalist myself-and often dismayed by separatist nationalistic comments you read sometimes in papers and websites (maybe the rugby related ones I browse are not typical!). Culturally I do feel there is an affinity between the Welsh and the Irish (North and South)-perhaps a little less with the Scots and probably less again with the English. Not sure how I would begin to justify these generalisations however-they are simply how I feel and reflect just one individual's set of experiences.

10ed.pendragon
Oct 2, 2010, 2:50pm

#10 Though English, I was brought up as a child in the Far East, and am now living in Wales, so try hard to take people as I find them rather than prejudge them on the basis of their accent or accident of birth. Anyway, these days, genetically, people in the British Isles are more related than used to be thought (read Bryan Sykes' The Seven Daughters of Eve, say, or Luigi Cavalli-Sforza's Genes, Peoples, and Languages for example) and even the English on average have more of the Ancient Briton in them than of the marauding Saxon or Viking stereotype. I think the culture individuals grow up in has a lot to do with how other individuals from other cultures react to them, and whether there are shared values or not.

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