Regionalism: Why I Get that Northern Ireland is Different From The Republic

When we were asked to write about regionalism, I had a hard time deciding what to discuss. But then, I realized that regionalism is a huge part of my life. I am extremely proud of where I come from, which is a small town outside of Chicago, Illinois. And, I am very proud to be an American. I love that whenever I say I’m from America here, people (so far) have always said something positive about the USA. I love how individual we are, and how people from other countries want to come to America to start a new life. I’m also proud of Chicago, the best city in the world (ok, maybe I’m a little biased). My parents have been bringing me to downtown Chicago for my whole life, and I love the history and culture one can experience there. People in Chicago genuinely care about the city, which I think is pretty hard to find elsewhere.

That being said, I can understand why people in Northern Ireland put an emphasis on the difference between here and the Republic of Ireland. If something were to happen and the world decided to combine Canada and the US and just call it “North America”, people would be pretty upset. While we, as countries, get along, we have such different cultures that we wouldn’t want to be grouped together. The longer I am in Armagh, the more I realize that this is true when it comes to NI and the Republic as well. Even though they are on the same island, they have different cultures, traditions, even different currencies. Before I came here, I thought “why can’t they just be called Ireland?” But, reflecting on my own sense of regionalism, I can see why combining them would drastically impact the society as a whole, and why separating them is so important to protect their cultures.

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