Cori Conlon grew up thinking Protestants were “the bad guys.”
They went to different schools, played different sports, had different flags, and sang different songs. She said she was oblivious to the complexities of Northern Irish politics, but knew only one thing: to stay away from the Protestant children living at the bottom of the street.
Raised in a predominantly Catholic area in west Belfast, she spoke Irish, sang Irish ballads and attended Irish Catholic school. Her routine was punctuated by “peace walls,” the towering metal barricades built during the conflict that separate communities into Catholic and Protestant. .
Her views were shaped by the folklore of her family, tales that her “Great Granny Kitty” would tell of the violence between Catholic nationalists and Protestant unionists, or the British Army, known as the Troubles, that racked…