In November a group of us TY’s went on a drama trip to the city of Belfast. The drama we have covered this year is called ‘Across the Barricades’. Ms McElwee and Ms Buggy wanted us to learn more about the history of the Troubles, and of Belfast where the drama is set. We went on this trip to get a better understanding of the Troubles, partition, and the communities of Protestants and Catholic often divided in the North of Ireland. We set off bright and early on Monday morning at 6.45am from the school. On the way up we stopped in a shop to break up the 3 and a half hour-long journey. As we neared the border, our bus driver Bart gave us a brief description of how the border works/worked and told us the significance of the places we passed through. Our first stop on this trip was the Titanic Museum. The museum was built on the site of the former ‘Harland and Wolff shipyard’, where the original Titanic was built. The museum told the story of the Titanic, through her construction and launch, to its maiden voyage and its successive place in history. This museum fascinated us with its life-sized replicas of rooms on the titanic and we had a lot of fun with the interactive activities. After some lunch, we hopped back on the bus and were joined by a tour guide called Deirdre (or Dee). She guided us around the city, showing us ‘the Falls Road’ murals, painted by the Catholics, and Dee talked to us about her childhood and what growing up in the crossfire of the opposing sides was like. We crossed  on foot from Falls Road into Shankhill through the wrought iron gates which Deirdre told us closed at night-time for the protection of both sides. We left Deirdre back in the city Centre, where our lovely teachers let us off for some free time to get something to eat and go for a spot of shopping…. The last stop of the day was the Holiday Inn Hotel. We checked into our rooms and got ready for dinner. The menu for dinner included 3 courses and the food was served buffet-style. Most people got chicken curry and rice followed by some chocolate fudge cake! We all finished off the night with a little singsong…… In the morning we got breakfast where we filled ourselves up with another delicious buffet of treats, before then heading to the Ulster Museum. This museum was new and modern, and we all enjoyed getting to see the art gallery and the old Army uniforms in the section covering the Troubles. We finished off the tour in the giftshop where we bought some souvenirs to bring home.  Last, but not least, we went to the old Crumlin gaol which was remarkably interesting. We got an insight into the life of a prisoner in the early 1900s. The cells we visited were virtually untouched since they were last used, and the architecture of the gaol was something to remember! The final stop was for some food in the city Centre before we made our way home to our lovely CMJ, arriving back at half 7, tired after our long fun-packed few days of living the Belfast life…! Thanks to our teachers Ms McElwee, Ms Buggy and Mr Corcoran for organising the trip and for helping us to learn more about the history of our country! 

Written by Georgie Holland and Coaimhe Doheny (TY)