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1. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y

I was just watching a political programme from here in Northern Ireland - the Marching Season here has started and l was just wondering what others from countries out there perceived of Northern Ireland during the summer marching months?

Just curious!

From my point of view - if you walk into a parade whether local or not it can be a daunting experience, some may enjoy it as a piece of local culture others may find it a scary experience they dont want to be part of!

Personally, l avoid the parades at all costs - l find them tacky and embarassing! But then lm a middle class snob! The site of people drunk sing songs that in the most part are sectarian just makes my skin itch! I hate the idea of being unable to drive where and when l want - and lm not always talking about the local enclaves where it would be a staunchy loyalist/republican area it can be in the main thorough fares.

Plus l HATE HATE HATE bagpipes - the sound is like poor cats being strangled!!! And the uniforms the pipers wear smell icky!!!!!!!

How are the parades in Northern lreland portrayed through out the world (if at all?)

Heather

[ Edit: Edited at Jun 18, 2006 3:16 PM by Purdy ]

2. Posted by tomm35 (Budding Member 47 posts) 10y

I love parades, especially parades with bagpipes.

3. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

The first time I went to NI, in late June of 2004, Neal's parents asked if my parents were worried about my visit due to "the troubles". It took me a sec to even figure out what they're talking about. I think I only really understood the tension when Neal pointed things out: the huge stacks of wood for bonfires, the different flags in different areas, the painted curbs.

When we got off the train in Carrickfergus, the street was lined with uniformed band members drinking beer, and I could feel Neal's tension, even if I didn't undertand it. That was about as scary as it got for me. I think the rest of the world knows the facts but doesn't understand the reason for it. I saw a sign for "mixed-marriage counselling" somewhere in Belfast and remarked to Neal that it was nice how black-and-white couples could find help. Turns out it had nothing to do with colour at all...

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

How many parades do you have during "Marching Season"?

Chicago has a large number of them, but they range from St. Patricks Day (with the requisite bagpipes) to Cinco de Mayo to Puerto Rican Independence Day to Gay Pride to Thanksgiving. Oh, and there's Bud Billiken Parade. (Also known as the African-American Parade.) The list just goes on...

5. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

Oooh - we have a great St. Paddy's Day parade here! Apparently it's the oldest in North America... You get floats from every imaginable place: Irish pubs, supermarkets, non-profit groups, marching bands, even the Shriners (with old men driving around in tiny cars). It's fantastic - and everybody's Irish for a day!

6. Posted by Jase007 (Travel Guru 8870 posts) 10y

Parades in general or just the NI ones?

Personally I don't mind celebrating the local traditions.

What get me, is jump on the bandwagon shite, and Paddy's day is one that gets up my nose.
Fair enough if you want to go and have a bit of fun on the day etc.. go for it. But what I object to is the public funded parades, London is a big one on this.
London spends hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax payers money on paddy's day but ZERO on St. Georges day, who is the patron saint of England. And London isn't alone in this.

But as for the NI parades, I think if both sides of the fence just take a chill pill, it's only a parade so compromise ought to limit any agrovation.

7. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y

There are parades some where in Northern Ireland every weekend of differing sizes and some during the week so really you are talking of parades from start of June until end of August - 12 weeks.

Where the international youth hostel is in Belfast is at the bottom of the Donegal Road which verges on quite a Staunchly loyalist area which would have parades and then the drinking which goes along with it. Its the crowds standing about drinking which is the more intimidating. And lm sure some of our visitors staying in this area can find this off putting.

Because Belfast especially is segregated in some of the social housing areas (although they are quite close by one and another) you tend to get a parade skirting an area which then makes it contenious and tensions rise and you get a small element making trouble.

Or if the Parades Commission (set up to decide if a parade is allowed to take a certain route) denies a parade to walk down a particular road this can then cause tension which can over spill with police forces intervening and at times the trouble can be catestrophic with petrol bombs and rocks hurling. Last year it over spilt onto the streets where cars were hi-jacked and certain areas were no go - this then affects the entire population as areas are no go and you dont feel you can leave home!

8. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y

Quoting Jase007

But as for the NI parades, I think if both sides of the fence just take a chill pill, it's only a parade so compromise ought to limit any agrovation.

Jase do you want to come over and sort the sides out!!

9. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

Purdy - come over here! We'll take you to parades where you don't need to "duck and cover" to avoid the flying bottles of Guinness.

I hate to say it, but maybe a moratorium on Marching Season wouldn't be such a bad idea. If no one gets to parade around, they'll just sit in the pubs, drink and fight. Safer all around. But, then someone will get the wise idea to lynch the Parade Committee... Maybe that's not so bad either - no one left to approve the parade(s). Sorry, didn't mean to sound flippant as it is a serious issue.

Years ago, in a predominantly Jewish suburb of Chicago (Skokie), the Nazi Party planned a parade. The village sued but lost the case on the grounds of freedom of speech. In the end - the Nazi Party never showed up. There was even a made-for-television movie about it all. But, I digress...

10. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y

Quoting Isadora

I hate to say it, but maybe a moratorium on Marching Season wouldn't be such a bad idea. If no one gets to parade around, they'll just sit in the pubs, drink and fight. Safer all around. But, then someone will get the wise idea to lynch the Parade Committee... Maybe that's not so bad either - no one left to approve the parade(s). Sorry, didn't mean to sound flippant as it is a serious issue.

Theres plenty that have that idea - members of the Parades Commission have received letter bombs and the like sent through too!! Its made up of those great people ie clergy, community workers and policing board members who are REALLY in touch with the communities!!

Personally l think alcohol should be banned and they should be only held on rainy days keeps the riotious sorts in doors!!!