Bloody Sunday

Derry Travel Blog

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The site of the shootings on Bloody Sunday.

I am officially in the UK now.  I’m in Derry, a city in Northern Ireland that is right on the border with the Republic of Ireland.  After checking into my hostel, I had to get new currency (I now have three currencies on me).  I thought the exchange rate with the Euro was bad, but the pound is even worse.  While my hostel is ONLY 11 pounds a night, that’s really 22 US dollars.  Not so good.

 

Derry is a walled city, about a mile all around, and it is the only remaining walled city in Ireland.

Bloody Sunday monument.
  You can walk the entire circle.  Today I chose to check out the Museum of Free Derry, which just opened four months ago and chronicles the Civil Rights Movement here leading up to Bloody Sunday on January 30, 1972, in which 14 unarmed individuals were killed by British troops, many shot in the back.  The museum contains pictures and audio from the Battle of Bogside, to the internments, and eventually the 15,000 person march in protest and Bloody Sunday. 

 

The gentleman who welcomed and introduced me to the exhibit was the brother of one of the victims.  My hair stood on end when he told me this, and I had to hold back tears many times throughout the exhibit.  I wondered how he could stand to be there, but he reiterated that the museum was about educating and remembering.

Mural depicting Bloody Sunday - notice the Father raising a white flag.
  The museum itself stands on the site of where the massacre occurred.  Standing outside was eery as everyone was busy about their day, sweeping, walking and doing other household chores.  I suppose you must move on.  A monument sits nearby so that no one will forget and many murals in the area depict the struggles.

 

It is amazing that the events around Bloody Sunday are still unsettled.  The initial inquiry came back that the British did no wrong.  However, a second inquiry was called and lasted from 1998 until 2004, including 921 witnesses.  A report is due out next year. 

 

Derry was an unplanned stop on the way to Belfast/Giants Causeway.

Mural
  It is very pretty, sits on a river and has many places to explore.  I'm glad I made it and will explore some more of its history tomorrow.

PART II

Last night I headed out in search of groceries and spotted a group of obvious travelers (large group of about 20) heading down the street from my hostel.  I decided to follow them to see where they were going.  It turned out they were meeting up for a guided walking tour of the city, which I had thought about doing earlier in the day but didn't due to the cost.  Well, I just slid in there with them.  We walked around the wall and over to the Free Derry area where I was earlier.  Our guide talked about the struggles between the Catholics and the Protestants , even showing us the different neighborhoods they lived in and an existing wall that divided them.  He also talked about how the name of the town to this day is contested - Derry or Londonderry, depends on where you side.

Free Derry - a former "no go" zone.
  To avoid conflicts, they call the bus that heads here from Belfast the Maiden so as not to offend anyone.  However, the guide indicated that due to the recent peace process, this city has seen the most calm that he's seen in his lifetime, and he is about 55 I would say.  I had read some about this before I came.  Apparently the two men in peace talks are the same two men that were around 25 years ago.  He expressed frustration at their unwillingness to sit down back then and how it would have prevented a lot of the sadness and death here.  I'd say I'm lucky to be here at this time.  In fact, one mural he pointed out depicted a girl who had been gunned down on the street.  Originally it had a black gun and black butterfly on it, but it was changed a few weeks ago, showing a broken orange gun and colored butterfly, reflecting the recent peace process. 


It was a great tour, very informative.  I truly lucked out with the timing of leaving my hostel for sure.  I was chatting with the guide and even he thought I was quite smart to join in ;)

kingelvis14 says:
My ancestors (McCluskey) settled in Derry after leaving Scotland (a long time ago). My sister and I are planning on spending three or four days there in 2009 to do some geneology research. It's hard to understand the Catholic/Protestant trouble since we have freedom of speech and religion here in the USA.
Posted on: Jan 17, 2008
saritayevonne says:
yay auntie mame im so proud of you for doing this and keeping us updated. mom just got me signed up today! so glad to hear your doing okay. miss you lots auntie and look forward your next entry!!! luv you ~sarita~
Posted on: Jun 12, 2007
Neelie1113 says:
Wow, that's amazing. I hope the peace process creates some permanent positive changes. (And nice job getting in on the tour, very stealth!)
Posted on: Jun 12, 2007
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The site of the shootings on Blood…
The site of the shootings on Bloo…
Bloody Sunday monument.
Bloody Sunday monument.
Mural depicting Bloody Sunday - no…
Mural depicting Bloody Sunday - n…
Mural
Mural
Free Derry - a former no go zone.
Free Derry - a former "no go" zone.
Walled city
Walled city
Derry
photo by: Nzelvis