Over this past week in Derry, we have been lucky enough to visit the Irish countryside of Donegal, see a castle, meet the mayor, and discuss the deeper concepts to peace from our book The Moral Imagination. We discussed concepts like the gift of pessimism and understanding the healing process while at the same time questioning and making sure it is the best it can be.
Glenveagh Castle and National Park
We took off for Donegal on a cold and snowy day allowing us to witness the true force of Storm Fionn blowing across Ireland and the UK. The snow made the ambiance of the castle that much more impressive and many of us felt that was the highlight of our time in Derry. The castle is impressively built in the style of the Scots and is based by a loch (lake) allowing for some stunning scenery. Students enjoyed being the only ones crazy enough to venture outside on such a cold Irish day and the exploration of the castle grounds led to some excellent pictures and appreciation of Irish countryside. As the wind and snow whipped around us, we could not help but be in awe of the tall bluffs and imposing castle.
Following our visit to the castle, we continued to Leo’s Tavern for lunch. This establishment was not just a restaurant, however, as the owners were part of a famous musician family! Clannid is a sibling group focused on Irish music and melody, and they have toured the world. In fact, one of the members went solo and became famous thanks to her songs, “Only Time” and “May Be It Be.” It was a pleasant stop and we were lauded with traditional songs and music as well as a piano performance from the owner’s son. After a long day, we returned back to our hostel ready to take another day of activity.
WAVE Trauma Center, Museum of Free Derry, and Last Day Thoughts
Our visits went beyond seeing the walls and murals surrounding Derry. We were able to talk to counselors and workers helping those traumatized by the troubles. Our time at WAVE allowed us to see how important community work is and also how difficult it is for people to seek out help. In our conversations later that day, we really connected what we learned in Dublin to what is currently happening now in Derry. Peace building is a dynamic platform and storytelling is so crucial to healing. Part of Ledrach’s lessons is the willingness to risk. For many people in Derry, that could mean going outside during a storm, a Catholic talking to a Protestant, and even being willing to share what they have experienced with a stranger. We all agree this trip is more than learning about history, it is about the ethics of peace and how we can relate these concepts to our own lives.
On to Ballycastle
And that wraps up our time in Derry, so catch us next time in the small port town of Ballycastle, better known as the home of Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle. We have learned so much in Derry, but are ready to go out and explore a new part of Northern Ireland and learn more of the foundation of peace at Corrymeela.
Until Next Time!