A whole new world…


peacepromsThe world is a funny place. I have never been one with a great desire to travel and I would say I am a home bird really. Every now and again Ben and I discuss moving to England, because he misses home and it always comes down to the fact that I don’t really like change and I am settled in the place that I know, (and we cant afford to live in London).

The irony of this is that fairly often, I find myself hating this country. Northern Ireland is such a funny place and it frustrates me when we when we fight amongst ourselves.

We have such a wealth of Irish History and Culture while being ultimately ruled by Britain and yet not quite belonging there either. We are a fiercely independent nation, a strong bunch of people that have faced some harsh times and yet battled through with sense of community and determination.

So many Concerts and comedy gigs I’ve been to have said that a Belfast crowd are the best to play to. I think its because for so many years nobody played gigs here, and, for my generation at least, we feel grateful to be able to enjoy what everyone else can without the minority ruining it for us all.

I have to say I missed the most of the ‘troubles’. I’m too young to have grown up in the middle of it all, my mum and dad’s age group probably got the worst of it. I do remember having to leave Belfast city centre quickly when there was a bomb scare when I was only about 4years old. I remember the barriers that used to be up in Belfast so you couldn’t drive a car into the centre and I remember the security checks at the front of every shop. I remember some of my parents friends loosing jobs because the place they worked had been involved in a bomb and I know the stories of how my granddads shop was blown up twice, friends in security forces where targeted and I know all too well how how check under your car before you drive anywhere. In more recent years a remember being brought to tears by extended family members over my decision to date someone from ‘the other side’. I distinctly remember being told to ‘date my own kind’, ironically these family members also didn’t like Ben who is English.

With this in mind I bring up my children in a country that looks very different. This week alone Megan took part in the Peace Proms in the SSE arena, and also went on a shared education trip to W5. Shared Education is were Megan’s school works with the school across the road in an effort to build cross community relations.

What I love about these projects is that Megan doesn’t actually know why they need to take part in shared education, they just think its a fun way to make new friends, do cool projects and go on exciting school trips. Peace Proms is just the nice name for the amazing concert they get to take part in. She has no idea that at one point not so long ago we couldn’t have envisaged schools from all over Ireland coming together, seeing each other as equals and not seeing any difference in each other at all. They have no idea that once there wasn’t peace. Of course eventually when they are old enough they will study Irish history, (this is a great thing and the point in my life where I feel I got a balanced opinion), and they will get the picture but I hope by then that they will have seen the world for what it truly is and will understand how far we have all come since then.

Of course we still have a long way to go. As we face a new election and direct rule looks like a very real possibility. The reality of the difficulties of the different communities working together become more apparent and the reality underlying fear of going backwards rears its head, we see how fragile this country still is. The reality is we still have several generations worth of people with hurts and beliefs and anger that will be very hard to let go of. Those feelings are so easily passed down the line. I know I am far from perfect I know I have ideas that I was brought up with that I have had to realise are complete rubbish and issues that I will still need to let go of and be sure not to be passed down to my kids. I was lucky enough to have a fairly mixed family so I was never hard line one way or the other, apart from the odd issue with more extended family as I mentioned before. I am not in any way judging anyone’s culture either, my mum remembers watching the bonfires when she was younger with all her friends catholic and protestant together it was just a fun evening without any political agenda, obviously that wont have been true of every location but in some it was a culture to share.

What I love most is that the schools have embraced shared education. I mean I know a lot of it is to do with funding, but our kids understand that all these fun things happen when they all work together. There is no question of not wanting to play with the kids from the other school.

Today on a day where we elect a new government and everyone is hoping for change, for moving forward, for a group of people who will get decisions made. What we need to remember that as much as these people make decisions, our children are the future of our country. How we raise them, how we teach them and how we show them to act is how our country will look in 30 years time.

My daughter knows that the orchestra made up of people from all over Ireland made the most beautiful music she has ever heard. – check out twitter.com/cboiofficial


She knows that when schools come together they have the most fun school trips she has ever had.

She has seen that our Disney friends come from all over Ireland, England and Europe and we all speak with different accents and sometimes different languages but what is true of all these things that, life is better when we do things together. When we include and accept, when we focus on what bonds us and not what divides us.



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1 Comment

  • Laura Wood

    Beauifully written as always nikita your awesome ?

    03/02/17 – 13:58