By Viviana Lletget (Visiting Student – Department(s) at Trinity: English, Political Science, and Sociology – Home University: University of California Berkeley, Ethnic Studies)
Part of the reason I came to study in Ireland was to learn more about its political history, particularly Northern Ireland, which is one of the four countries that makes up the United Kingdom. British colonialism ended with the Irish Partition in 1921 under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, making Northern and Southern Ireland UK territories operating in different Home Rule fashions, but in 1922 with the War of Independence, Southern Ireland became independent as the Irish Free State. Belfast has always been a place to protest and voice your political position within the mainstream two factions of Irish Nationalism or Unionism. Belfast is saturated with social movement histories, and has been affected by violent pasts that seem to still plague the city besides its increasing social solidarity among citizens. People get along, though generally speaking, Catholics and Protestants don’t really hang out in each other’s neighborhoods, but no one is bombing or vandalizing a rival’s area as before. Things have changed in Belfast, though the city is definitely still segregated.