A day at a time in Northern Ireland

Republican mural, Derry/Londonderry
Republican mural, Derry/Londonderry

Is Northern Ireland over its Troubles?

The question is impossible to ignore, given the conspicuous reminders of conflict in both Belfast and Derry/Londonderry.

In Belfast, tour companies and cab drivers offer “political tours” or “mural tours” through sectarian neighborhoods, allowing tourists to take photos of posters and memorials. In Derry/Londonderry, where even the city’s name is in dispute, the story of the conflict is told in several museums. The Troubles are still in the headlines.

While I was in Northern Ireland, Prince Charles and Gerry Adams, president of the Sinn Féin political party, made news by shaking hands. Adams’ former comrades say he was on the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA’s) ruling council in 1979 when the prince’s great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was murdered. The widely publicized handshake once seemed unthinkable.

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