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Our 4th year Geography classes took part in a Physical and Regional Geography fieldtrip to Northern Ireland on Thursday and Friday. On the first day we visited the Basalt columns in the Giant’s Causeway and visited the Carrik-a-Rede rope bridge. The Giant's Causeway lies at the foot of the basalt cliffs along the sea coast on the edge of the Antrim plateau in 

Northern Ireland. It is made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea. The dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland.

Geological studies of these formations over the last 300 years have greatly contributed to the development of the earth sciences, and show that this striking landscape was caused by volcanic activity during the Tertiary, some 50–60 million years ago. The Giant’s Causeway was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The next day we took part in The Coiste Irish Political Tour in West Belfast. The tour started at Divis Tower at the bottom of the Falls Road, where our guide, Jack Duffin, a former activists and IRA member shared his own personal story of the troubles.

We then travelled through a main arterial route of West Belfast, visiting The International Wall, the Republican Memorial gardens and many murals, each with their own particular story, some relating to conflict in other areas around the world. After an hour and a half on the Falls road we made our way across the Peace line to the Shankill Road where we met our guide Mark, a former loyalist activist. He shared his own personal stories with us as we visited many different sites that explained the local history of the troubles. We got the opportunity to sign the Peace Wall in West Belfast, which separates the Catholics and Protestants in the area. The wall is 3 miles long and 25 feet high. Both guides were a wonderful primary source and an invaluable link into the most recent phase of struggle in West Belfast.

Well done to all our 4th year students who were great representatives for St Josephs. Our students were complimented by a number of different organizations over the 2 days. Also thanks to Ms Fitzgerald, Ms Galvin and Ms McInerney for organizing and giving up their time to go on the tour.


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