Northern Ireland comprises six counties in the northeastern part of the island of Ireland and is part of the United Kingdom. Here is a place filled with contrast. In part, it is a magical and mystical place – the ancient land of druids, pagans, and Vikings. However, in dark contrast, Northern Ireland has the history of “The Troubles.”
I traveled to Northern Ireland on a mission to see for myself and photograph images of its complex history. Staying at the Europa Hotel in Belfast – known as the “most bombed building in the world.” I hired a local tour guide (a retired taxi driver who made a living as a taxi driver in Belfast during the Troubles) to take me to Belfast’s Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods, such as Shankill and West Belfast, I saw sectarian painted murals and memorials to deceased war heroes. I saw British flags flying in the Protestant communities and Irish flags flying in the Catholic neighborhoods. A giant wall divided the two. I saw graveyards filled with memorials to young people killed in the conflict. I also toured the medieval prison Crumlin Road Gaol.
Conversely, I also visited historic Navan Fort “Emain Macha” in Armagh– the earliest capital of Ulster and the ancient seat of kings and believed to be the home to Cuchulainn – an old warrior hero with the Red Branch Knights. Ancient ceremonial stones still exist.
Then beautiful Belvoir Forest in Belfast along the River Lagan. The forest was once the site of the Hill Family plantation in the 1740s. The area now offers nature walks.
Consequently, my photography of Northern Ireland represents the light and dark history of this unique land where I felt many things from long ago.