Letter: Thank-you Belfast - my visit was incredible and inspiring

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A letter from Michal Siewniak:

There are sometimes moments in life which are not easy to describe or define.

Although some of these moments leave a permanent trace in our lives, it is hard to express our views, feelings and “internal transformation”. We might have read several books in relation to a particular topic - however, seeing something in reality often changes our perspective or perceptions of places and/or people.

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I am convinced that visiting Belfast and Northern Ireland will stay with me for many months. Belfast has a great vibe, good universities, plenty of international students, many parks, a lovely city centre, and incredibly powerful Crumlin Road Gaol Museum. The capital city of Northern Ireland is quite very special and unique.

I thought I “knew Belfast”. Reading a few books about the history of Northern Ireland was pretty informative. However, driving through certain parts of Belfast was breathtaking. I felt stunned and speechless on quite a few occasions. Murals, paintings, peace walls, and barracks are only a few examples of a “divided city”. Although there are clear signs of pain and suffering of this lovely place and its people, the extraordinary efforts to find a peaceful solution in most challenging circumstances are equally, if not more, powerful.

Northern Ireland went through so much. The healing hasn’t ended but I hope that the process of reconciliation and growth will continue to positively impact many lives.

Thank you Belfast for an inspiring, incredible, difficult-at-times history, political and life lesson. You have just gained one “ambassador”. See you - most definitely - again!

Michal Siewniak