Thursday, March 26, 2015

Northern Ireland Day Three: Stormont

Tuesday was the first of our internship/business casual days. We took a bus from our hotel to Stormont, which is the building that houses the Northern Irish government. It is a beautiful building that looks like it is old, but it was built in the 1920s. It reminds of me of Versailles in that the building is supposed to intimidate people going up to it. The drive leading up to Stormont is about one mile long up a hill. It is quite impressive.

We had the chance to speak with one of the politicians and one of the clerks about education. Then we got to sit in on a hearing to discuss a new bill on special educations. Right before lunch, we had a quick talk about the building itself. The talk was strictly about the history and architecture of the building, nothing about politics. 

After lunch we went out the front doors to take some photos.

Me and my friend Siena!
The second thing on our agenda was visiting CCEA or the Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment. But before that, Siena and I stopped at a coffee shop for a latte and pastry. 

The rest of the day was focused on our project. We went to CCEA and then headed back to Queen's University to speak with some education majors about their experiences in the education system. It was eye opening to learn what they think of academic selection, teaching about the Troubles, and their opinions on the Nerve Centre. 

The next morning we had to get up SUPER early to catch our train to Derry-Londonderry, so it was an early night for us!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Northern Ireland Day Two: Queen's University and Crumlin Road Gaol

Day two was the beginning of our scholarly journey in Northern Ireland. We started the day bright and early as we headed to Queen's University Belfast to speak with Dean Tony Gallagher. The campus is beautiful and reminded me of Hogwarts. I would love to go to school there.

Dean Gallagher's presentation gave us some new information about the education system to think about. It was a great start to the research part of the trip.

After finding a place for lunch and eating there, we walked from our hotel to Crumlin Road Gaol. This is where prisoners from the Troubles and other criminals were jailed. The gaol opened in 1845 and closed in 1996 because it was too expensive to maintain. 17 men were executed there and we got to go into the execution cell where they have a noose hanging from the ceiling. I admit that it was pretty scary. It took me a while to fall asleep that night.

The old court house across from the gaol

We were served tea and scones!!!
Where prisoners were brought upon arrival
Rooms where prisoners were kept before being led to the court house

Tunnel to the court house
First of the many creepy statues in the gaol.

The padded cell. Creepy.
The education room.
The bathroom.
The outside of the gaol.
After that we took a bus back to city centre. My friend and I went to Primark and New Look for a look around. I did not get any clothing, but I did buy a cute sign to hang up in my room. It says: "good friends are like diamonds . . . precious and rare."

We then went to Fratelli's near the hotel. It is a cute Italian restaurant and I had pasta with shrimp. I posted a photo of it on Instagram. Here it is:

You can follow me on Instagram @thekschiap. Soon I will post about my third day in Northern Ireland when we went to Stormont, where the Northern Irish government is housed. 

Until then,


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Northern Ireland Day One: Arrival and Belfast Black Cab Tour

Well it has been a long time since I have written here. Second semester of college has been just as busy as the first one. I have also joined a service fraternity here on campus called Alpha Phi Omega (APO). All the pledge requirements have been taking up a lot of my time. But I will try to write more often!

Last week was our spring break and I was fortunate enough to go to Northern Ireland as part of a research class. We are researching how schools in Northern Ireland teach the Irish Civil Rights Movement and the Troubles. The trip was amazing and I learned so much from it.

On this blog I will be writing more about the experiences, food and touristy stuff, but our class has a blog that will probably be more about the research aspect of the trip. Without further ado here is Northern Ireland day one!!

On Saturday March 7, our group left campus at 2:00 p.m. to start our long journey to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Our flight to London Heathrow Airport left Dulles at 6:30 p.m. and we arrived before 7:00 a.m. GMT Sunday. I watched two movies (The Imitation Game and Paddington) that I will talk about in a future post.

After a short layover we boarded our flight to Belfast City Airport. Needless to say by the time we got to our hotel at noon on Sunday, we were all pretty tired. We crashed for two hours before our Belfast Black Cab tour.

This tour takes you through Belfast showing you the famous murals, Milltown Cemetery, and places where people were killed during the Troubles. Here are some photos from the tour.

Some of the curbs are painted to show allegiance. 

This stands for Ulster Freedom Fighters, a loyalist (protestant) paramilitary organization

Peace wall
The next few photos from Milltown Cemetery, which is a Catholic cemetery. While walking through the cemetery, our tour guy would casually point to graves and say "I knew him." It was definitely a sobering start to the week.

Grave of Bobby Sands, hunger striker who died in 1981.
We then passed tons and tons of murals on the sides of buildings and along the peace walls.

After the tour we went to the Home Restaurant near city centre. Most of us went for the two course prix-fixe plan. I got the traditional roast for my main and then sticky toffee pudding for dessert. A pretty traditional meal for my first day in Belfast. 

See you soon!