We have had an eventful weekend and Monday. Heading off from Derry and towards the Giant's Causeway and Dunluce Castle on Saturday, we were blessed with a beautiful view of the coast. Exploring Giant's Causeway (the largest attraction in Northern Ireland) and hiking the bluffs was so much fun and a nice break from the intesive work we were about to do in Ballycastle. Between the beatuiful views of the cliffs, snowy tree tops, and waterfalls, the day was full of activity. Corrymeela was our final destination, a small peacebuilding community right outside the quaint harbor town of Ballycastle.
We have enjoyed our time in Ireland, but some of us have gotten a bit homesick. Corrymeela's warmth and welcoming community allowed us to have a little feel of 'home'. From the constant tea and biscuits to the calm rolling of the waves right outside our window, the reflective nature of Corrymeela gave us a contemplative side to the peace process. Through thoughful questions and explorations, our class gained a larger appreciation for peace movements and the learning goals of our course. We went through the basic history of the Troubles, but also examined what are the lessons we learn from peacebuilding and how we can then apply those lessons not only to the conflict, but to our own lives and the lives around us back home. Group discussions, peace games, and reflective witing have prepped us for our final week here in Ireland.
Warm food in our bellies and our bags packed and ready to go, we embarked for Belfast. Our group is staying right in city center and with meetings varied from politics to education to mural tours, we have a busy week. There is a different feeling in this city comparable to the other cities we have visited. To see the real peace walls dividing communities is shocking. I am excited to see what more we will learn how both sides as well as our visits to the school systems. With only a week left to go, I am excited to pour all my energy into each day and seize the moment.