"It's an extraordinary thing, this tiny little province of Northern Ireland, where carnage happened. And I was a part of it. I grew up in it." Liam Neeson
This weekend I am backing Belfast! If you haven't guessed by now I am from the lovely country of Northern Ireland. I don't know about other bloggers who are reading this but I am fascinated by the views I get. I am constantly refreshing to see how many have viewed it since I last looked. The amazingness of the internet is that you can track where people are viewing your blog from. This week alone I have had viewers from New Zealand, Hong Kong, Poland, America, France and Germany. It is unbelievable the power of the internet.
View of Belfast from my balcony
So I wanted to do this post (and the next one on monday) as a review of Belfast as sadly it has been getting some bad press due to a small minority of people. There has been a massive drive across Northern Ireland lately mainly focusing in Belfast to "back Belfast." Due to the protests and the fact it was a very cold and long January, people have been mainly staying at home. Understandable but it has been affecting business across the province. Also, many visitors have been put off coming to Belfast due to what they are hearing on the news.
To be truthful, it doesn't affect my life if they fly a flag or not over City Hall in Belfast city centre. But to some people it does and that is fair enough. My take on it is that when I am 85 or whatever age, lying on my death bed, I won't remember the day that they decided not to fly the flag over city hall. I will remember my family and friends, my wedding day, giving birth to my children, their 1st smile and loving my grandchildren.
I am "half a Jaffa," as I like to call myself. I was brought up half protestant, half catholic. My mum was a catholic, my dad a protestant. I went to a very protestant primary school where I wore the red hand of Ulster on my chest via my school jumper. We said the Lord's prayer each day with the added doxology (that's the bit at the end of the Lord's prayer that protestants say). When I was eight years old, I did my First Holy Communion and I brought my Communion dress into school for show and tell. I didn't know that I was different, I wasn't treated different, I wasn't brought up to think there was any difference. I just wanted to show off a dress that I had worn at the weekend. I then attended the most catholic school in the area with nuns and everything. Of course, I had no idea. I just loved the school, the teachers and it was my choice. Religion was never mentioned. That was until the first day and we said the Lord's prayer in Assembly and I continued on at the end. I had no clue why everyone stopped. Call me naive, call me silly but honestly, I think my parents did a great job bringing me up not to judge people or know there is a difference between the two.
I have always got on with everyone, none of my friends care what religion I am. I have attended mass and church. I know the name of my family's priest and I know the name of my family's minister (I even fancied his son at one point). Belfast is a beautiful city and I honestly can't see myself living anywhere else. Sure, I want to go travelling and possibly live in another country for a few years but I will always come back to Northern Ireland to raise my children. It's my home.
View of Belfast from my balcony last month
So this weekend, my schedule is jammed packed! Well tonight I am travelling to the boyfriend's house which is about half an hour outside Belfast and having a lovely home cooked belated Valentine's day meal. Tomorrow, Connor, Connor's little brother, Harry and I are going to the Mac, Belfast's brand new arts venue. They are showing an exhibition on Andy Warhol, the first time any of his work has been showing in Northern Ireland! Then on Sunday, I am having a girly catch up day with my two best friends, Zoe and Jenny. We are going to have a day of fun!!! Plan is to hit the Titanic museum which is unbelievable, ice skating, dinner in Victoria Square and who knows where else. Probably Lisburn Road too for ice cream and a cup of tea.
So tune in Monday for lots of fun photos, reviews and what I was wearing over the weekend!