2019 Northern Ireland RIOT 2 Update 8
Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2019
Belfast Saturday! RIOT concluded for the week last night which meant a change of pace was on the agenda for today. After a short drive from Dundrum, we arrived at a market in Belfast. The converted warehouse was teeming with pop-up booths selling everything from fresh fish to alpaca wool scarves. We did some souvenir shopping and ate the biggest breakfast sandwiches we’d ever seen. Our Tennessee group was in for a surprise when they noticed several Tennessee state flags hanging from the rafters. Apparently we timed our trip just in time for the annual “Nashville in Belfast” festival, which is a celebration of American country music culture. In the afternoon, we explored Belfast. The city has so much texture and history. It’s beautiful but also broken. The tensions between the Protestants and Catholics, a fight often called “the Troubles”, is literally painted on the walls built to section off feuding neighborhoods. We spent a moment praying along the “peace walls” as the spring rain coated our hoodies and the concrete structures. We prayed for peace that comes from unity and not division. Our hearts thought about the issues that divide us back home as well and we drove away encouraged to be peacemakers in our own cities and towns. These are the kinds of moments that make a trip like this so special.