The Ulster-American Folk Park, outside Omagh, Co.Tyrone, is a fascinating experience, portraying the lifestyles of Ulster men and women who lived in the area and emigrated to the United States in the early 1800s. It is located on the grounds of the former Mellon Family farm, of Carnegie Mellon fame. I loved the juxtaposition of the American farmstead rail fences with the Irish foliage.
Copy right 2013 Mary Jane E Clark
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About an hour outside of Belfast, I came upon this gorgeous waterfall in the hamlet of Downhill, in the Glens of Antrim. County Antrim has so many wonderful locations, including the Mussenden Temple, the Giant’s Causeway, the Old Bushmills Distillery, Dunluce Castle, the Portstewart Golf Club, soaring sea cliffs, golden strands, mountains and, yes, waterfalls!
Copyright 2013 Mary Jane E Clark
Belfast, as well as Derry, was a center for the 40 years of sectarian fighting and violence known as The Troubles. Many murals were painted during this time, most of them depicting political viewpoints, portraits of martyrs, sectarian slogans and threats and promises. The vitriol expressed was matched by the brutal attacks by the UVF, the UDA, the Provisional IRA and various dissident factions on both the Republican and Unionist/Loyalist sides. Many of these murals still exist but some of the more hateful expressions are being whitewashed.
The 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement ushered in a new era of peace, no matter how fragile. Progress has been made with a power-sharing government seated in Stormont Castle. And, as you can see, this new spirit of co-operation manifests itself through art. It’s just a beginning, but it IS a beginning.
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Copyright 2012 Mary Jane E Clark