Marriage: when religion comes into the mix

David Drennan pictured here with his parents in 1977 when his father received the British Empire Medal
David Drennan pictured here with his parents in 1977 when his father received the British Empire Medal

In a collection of stories that are insightful, compelling and at times, emotional, 11 people born in Ulster have opened their hearts and revealed what it is like to live in families where their parents are from different religious backgrounds.

The accounts have been recorded in a new book entitled Both Sides Now, which has been published by the Northern Ireland Mixed Marriage Association (NIMMA), and was written by Paul McLaughlin, who works for the organisation.

Louise Manley

Louise Manley

And they were described by deputy director of the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Professor Pete Shirlow as “very emotive” at last month’s launch in Belfast.

“These individual stories, real life experiences in the words of the people themselves, speak of hope and courage, compromise and determination,” he commented at the event.

“They tell of good times and bad, of love and prejudice, of difference and division, but they also speak of family as a force for good, often against all the odds.”

NIMMA chairman Ken Dunn described the book as “the ultimate cross-community project.”

Both Sides Now tells the experiences of 11 children born into mixed marriages in Northern Ireland

Both Sides Now tells the experiences of 11 children born into mixed marriages in Northern Ireland

He added: “These are stories about real people, with real life experiences that speak of courage and compromise, times of misunderstanding and prejudice, but mostly of love and how it can help bridge division.”

The Northern Ireland Mixed Marriage Association (NIMMA), is a registered charity that was set up in 1974 to provide country-wide support and information to couples either in or contemplating mixed marriage.

For more information on how to get a copy of Both Sides now, contact the charity on 028 9023 5444 or email them at info@nimma.org.uk.