Last Thursday (March 8, 2012) Occupy Dame Street, Dublin, was removed at 3.30 a.m. by the Guarda Síochána in an operation involving more than 100 people so that the plaza that they had occupied outside the central bank could be cleared for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The de-occupation mimicked the late-night move made by police on Wall Street last November, but was met with far less public outcry despite the overkill of 100+ police removing approximately 15 protestors.
On a very recent trip to the north of Ireland from my home south of the border, I was asked by a friend and fellow traveller if I had encountered any culture shock after crossing into Northern Ireland. She had never visited up north before, being from further south in the country. The thought had never struck me.
When I was growing up Northern Ireland was the place that scandalised the headlines constantly with news of the bombings and beatings and various atrocities of the ongoing war in that area, and also where my parents would go to shop cheap. As a young child the troubles were an ambiguous thing at the very least, and the mention of towns I knew quite well like Omagh and Enniskillen were just mentions of places where awful things happened, but they never seemed that bad. The money was Pound Sterling, not the good old Irish Punt, the post-boxes and phone-boxes were red, not green. Continue reading “Red Phone-boxes: Ireland North and South”