independent

Thursday 2 October 2014

Not the time of year to take the family on a nice, relaxing trip to the city of Belfast...

Published 23/07/2013 | 05:42

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It could only be me that would book a weekend in Belfast right in the middle of the Marching Season! That's the thing about me, in case you haven't already noticed. I have absolutely no cop on.

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And of course I'm a drama queen so when I saw a piece on the Six O'Clock news about the marches, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. "Oh sweet Jesus, we'll be shot! We'll be bombed as soon as they hear our southern accents," I ranted.

Himself rolled his eyes and explained they were by and large peaceful marches that didn't actually go into the city centre and the whole crux of the matter was whether they should march through catholic residential areas.

I kind of knew all that but had forgotten and Himself loves nothing better than giving a history lesson to those less knowledgeable than himself so I let him rattle on. Still I couldn't help thinking it wasn't ideal, bringing two children and a gobby wife to Belfast during the marching season.

I've never been to Belfast before and this was supposed to be a birthday treat for the eldest - a trip to the Titanic Exhibition. I grew up with the belief that Belfast is a dangerous place and so even when the Troubles drew to a close it's legacy made me nervous. It has taken me this long to pluck up the courage to go.

My big mouth makes me nervous as well. I remember travelling to Newcastle in County Down many years ago with a group of friends for an AIMS festival (How I ended up at a musical society festival is a whole other story!)

Several beers were imbibed on the journey and by the time we reached the border I was merrily shouting 'Tiocfaidh ar lá' out the window every five minutes. Eventually they were forced to restrain me by putting their hand over my mouth until we reached the safety of the hotel.

This will obviously be a more sober trip but I also suffer from what I think is a form of Tourettes Syndrome which makes me blurt out the very thing I'm not supposed to say. I'll be thinking to myself, 'don't mention politics, religion or marches' and the next thing I'll say is, 'so are you protestant or catholic?'

The safest thing to do is probably not to have a drink. Actually the safest thing to do is to leave me at home but that's not an option because who's going to play Rose when we get to the Titanic if I don't go? All I really want to do is sweep down that staircase to the strains of Celine Dion, calling 'Jack, Jack.'

So I shall be on Fanta for the weekend in order to keep a mind on my mouth. There will be no mention of politics, religion or marches. Himself suggested I pretend I'm in a different place altogether which shouldn't be too difficult since I thought Belfast was a county up until a month ago!!

But if you hear of a 40 something southern woman getting arrested in Belfast for causing an affray, you'll know who it is.

Note to self: do not wear orange or green!

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