In July 2019, a group of over 30 young people from across Northern Ireland took part in a cross-border day trip, organised by Bytes as part of our work with the Northern Ireland Executive Office’s Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC) scheme.
Having organised similar trips previous, Bytes staff decided to follow what was by now a tried and tested forumla. Traveling by coach, the group would drive down to Dublin, via Drogheda, visiting the site of the Battle of the Boyne and then Croke Park respectively. At both sites, the group would have a guided tour and a chance to learn more about various culturally significant events for the Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland.
The timing of the trip was particularly relevant, taking place as it did only a few days before 12th July celebrations were due to be held across Northern Ireland, which can be a source of tension in divided communities. At the first stop, the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre, the group toured the museum, watched a presentation on the history of the battle and learned about its historical and cultural important.
In Dublin, the group visited Croke Park, the home of the GAA. For many, it was their first exposure to Gaelic games. As well as a pitch side tour and changing room visit, the group also explored the GAA museum and learned about the importance of the sport in Ireland.
Although it was a long drive back to Belfast, the young people had a brilliant day out and all agreed that they had learned a lot about topics they hadn’t known much, if anything, about before. We’ll be continuing to work with them as we run T:BUC Camps over the summer, hopefully building on this experience to foster further good relations with participants.