24 Hours in Belfast

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You know what’s better than a long weekend? A surprise long weekend! Turns out Monday was a bank holiday and no one told us until Friday… So we got spontaneous and headed up to Belfast for a quick trip!

We bought our tickets laying in bed at 10, boarded our train at 12, and were sipping pints in Belfast by 3 – the perfect tiny vacation. We literally walked from the train station to our hotel, which took all of 10 minutes, and grabbed lunch in one of the stained glass laden rooms at the beautiful Crown Liquor Saloon.

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We made our way to the Titanic Museum afterwards, but didn’t make it in time before closing. Instead, we made due with trekking around the building and wandering around the SS Nomadic, the ship that brought people aboard the Titanic back in 1911. While there, though, it struck me how ironic the Titanic Museum is in general… Let’s build a museum for a boat that worked once! Best worst boat ever!

That night we settled in for dinner at Sweet Afton, a brand new bar with awesome food and seriously novel drinks. Think goat cheese bon bons and flaming passion fruit cocktails. There’s an entire complex of eateries that just opened in central Belfast that all look amazing. We had a nightcap at Rita’s next door (which was great) and I definitely want to check out The Perch‘s rooftop bar next time we’re in town.

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We left the next morning after a quick bite at Yahi (their sweet potato coconut soup is to die for) and headed back to Dublin. Our trip was short, but really sweet and easy. Can’t wait to head back North sometime soon!

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Dublin’s March for Choice

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With everything going on surrounding Planned Parenthood back in the U.S. and the continuous fight against access to safe abortions, I felt compelled to attend the March for Choice in Dublin last Saturday. In Ireland, abortion is illegal under the 8th amendment of the constitution and a criminal offense with a sentence up to 14 years in prison. Many women travel outside the country to obtain safe and legal abortions and there continues to be pushback from the government to repeal the 8th amendment.

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The march itself was a mix of things: there was yelling, anger and frustration, but there was also laughter and humor and friendship. There were families with small children and large groups of men. It really stood to remind me that access to abortion is simply not an issue that affects only women – it is an issue that affects people, families, and healthcare. It is not just an abstract campaign for women’s rights, it is also a real, tangible, personal, and financial decision made every day by lots of women.

I could not imagine feeling bullied by my government and judged by my peers for making a completely personal choice. The amount of stigma, condescension, and disrespect shown to women who have abortions and the organizations that provide them continues to astound me. I am proud to have been a part of the March for Choice and I hope that events like this will continue to foster open and understanding conversations about abortion.

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