#UlsterBorder Eighteen

Banners, flags, and emblems have an emotional history in Northern Ireland and can unhinge us. Madge Herron describing her father tells us:

“That little line where all his flags hang out is now collapsed/In the house next to us, there the people take to killing one/Another at odd hours of the night.

The #UlsterBorder marks the boundary created by treaties between nation states but the lines of culture criss-cross my consciousness.. Many of us have a mixed British-Irish identity and  many families have people living and/or working on both sides of the border or experience of migration to England and Scotland in search of work.

Surprisingly after partition,  #Donegal continued to host Twelfth July celebrations marking the victory of the Protestant William of Orange over the Catholic King James in 1690. Before the “Troubles” the bands were on their way to being more cultural than politically provocative. In the 1950’s and 1960’s my father’s pub in Strabane, the 12th of July was a day for thirsty bands from #Tyrone to gather – some on their way to holiday in Donegal. As a teenager in the late 1960’s, I worked in the #Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh serving the bands and their followers who came from all over Ireland and Scotland.  #Arlene Foster when she was first minister of Northern Ireland crossed the border from Fermanagh and sat on a Rossnowlagh fence in holiday mood. Watch the lambeg boogie to get a flavour of hope in mixing our cultures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0QTfX7GuSI

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