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Building the Peace - Getting the Foundations Right


Good afternoon. It is very good to be here with you to participate in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Corrymeela. This property where you now sit was purchased by the Rev Ray Davey and his QUB students for £7,000 in early 1965. That money, which was a mighty sum in those days, about ten times the annual salary, was raised within 10 days: testament to the courage and determination of those involved.

I read that Corrymeela has three possible meanings: “Hill of Harmony,” “Hill of Honeysuckle,” and “Lumpy Crossroads.” Hill of Harmony is attractive but my guess is that Corrymeela has seen much more than harmony in those 50 years, constructive though that may have been. Honeysuckle is lovely but I didn’t see any on the way up. Lumpy Crossroads is probably the most appealing, suggestive as it is of the pot holes, the bad corners, the diminished visibility and comprehension which have been so much part of our journey. There is a suggestion of humour too! I like that. I am sure that Corrymeela has seen many moments of fun and laughter over those five decades.

respite from the violence of those days: the holidays, weekends, summer breaks, camps which were so much part of life here at the time

I came to Northern Ireland in 1976, when times were pretty bad and I fairly quickly became aware of Corrymeela, firstly in terms of what I understood as respite from the violence of those days: the holidays, weekends, summer breaks, camps which were so much part of life here at the time. So many of you know so much more than I do about those days, about this place you describe as one of gathering, work, faith and discussion; about the bringing together of people of different backgrounds, different political and religious beliefs and different identities together, about the occasionally bewildered parents and children who came to this rugged North Antrim coast, which can seem so wild and inhospitable and grey, but which became a place of refuge, respite, reconciliation and relaxation for thousands of people. The work which has...

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