Northern Ireland was the last major territory of the United Kingdom to legislate for equal marriage, and it held its first same-sex wedding yesterday.
Following England, Wales and Scotland in 2014, legislation was introduced in Northern Ireland last fall, but it took some time for official documentation to be updated. With that done, same-sex couples were able to start tying the knot as of yesterday.
The first pair to do so were Robyn Peoples, 26, from Belfast, and Sharni Edwards, 27, from Brighton. They got married yesterday at a hotel in Carrickfergus, County Antrim. The women met six years ago at a gay bar in Belfast.
“Our love is personal but the law which said we couldn’t marry was political,” Peoples told the BBC.
“We are delighted that with our wedding, we can now say that those days are over.
“While this campaign ends with Sharni and I saying ‘I do’, it started with people saying ‘No’ to inequality.
“By standing together, we’ve made history.”
Northern Ireland has come a long way since ‘the troubles’ that besieged it in the 1970s and 80s. The Good Friday Agreement that led to a power-sharing Parliament in Stormont largely brought an end to violent campaigns of terror between rival political factions.
There’s been an increase in tourism in recent years, with many wishing to explore some of the country’s rugged scenery. The country’s use as a filming location for some of the Games of Thrones TV show has also drawn visitors. If you’re looking for gay bars and clubs, capital city Belfast is the place to head. It has its annual Pride parade on Saturday, August 1, 2020.
Below are a few of the scenic highlights to be discovered.
The Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim
This distinctive coastline and UNESCO world heritage site features around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption.
Larrybane, Ballycastle, County Antrim
This location, and the one below, were both used for Game of Thrones filming.
Downhill Beach in County Londonderry
Royal Country Down Golf Course, County Down
The Gortin Glens Forest Park in Omagh
Glenariff Waterfall within Glenariff Forest Park, in County Antrim
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Ballintoym, Country Antrim
Stormont Parliament Buildings in Belfast
Belfast City Hall
This museum is the most popular in the country. The Titanic was built in Belfast, before it traveled to Southampton, England, ahead of its ill-fated maiden voyage across the Atlantic (Courtesy of Tourism Ireland)