The Corrymeela Community have fifty years of experience working alongside fractured communities and groups who are finding their relationships difficult, as well as addressing relational, societal, structural and power dynamics.
Corrymeela has a residential centre on the north coast of Ireland that hosts over 11,000 people a year, as well as a lived community of volunteers and staff. Corrymeela also has a dispersed community of over 150 members who commit to living out Corrymeela’s principles of reconciliation in their own communities. Corrymeela’s programme staff travel to work with school and community groups throughout Northern Ireland, as well as hosting groups on site.
They work alongside people from youth and school groups, family and community organisations, faith communities and political parties. They run group sessions using dialogue, experiential play, art, storytelling, mealtimes and shared community to help groups embrace difference and learn how to have difficult conversations. They work alongside visiting university groups as well as groups from other parts of the world who wish to learn from our experience, and learn how to apply the Corrymeela lens to fractures in their own societies.
All of this work helps us learn how to live well together. It helps groups learn how to work well together. Corrymeela believes in the power of people telling their stories, of shared hospitality, of telling the truth about the present, of turning towards each other and finding strength, life and hope in each other. Ultimately, the work of Corrymeela helps groups learn how to be well together.
Corrymeela was begun in 1965 by Ray Davey, a former chaplain in World War II, and a group of students from Queens University. During the war, Ray was captured and incarcerated in a prisoner of war camp in Dresden and there bore witness to the bombing of that city. This experience profoundly changed him. He returned to work as a chaplain in Belfast and became concerned at the tensions brewing between people of different political, religious and ideological differences in Northern Ireland. Corrymeela grew out of this concern. It began before “The Troubles and continues on after “The Troubles,” promoting tolerance between people of differing backgrounds and beliefs. Corrymeela offers space for an analysis of the underlying dynamics of conflict, fracture, scapegoating and violence that we see across so many spheres of our world today.
Corrymeela is an open village for all people of good will.