Destinations Magazine

On The Borderline... Derry, Northern Ireland!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Derry had me wanting to know more after I had made my way down from the City Walls. It was Sunday? No, it was actually a Tuesday but I wanted to know more about Derry's Bloody Sunday, otherwise known as 'Bogside Massacre'. Entering 'Free Derry' allowed me to see another corner of the city, we don't need to mention the 'London' part. More murals? DY, I wanted to see them! 

On The Borderline... Derry, Northern Ireland!

Content with those Derry City Walls, I made my way down to street level to match that cannon-side view I had clocked from that higher point. 'Free Derry Corner' had something to show me, for me to check that out I needed to find Derry's 'Bogside' neighbourhood first! Let me just say, I had the 'Bloody Sunday Memorial' on my Apple Maps but after getting a little bit lost I was able to get back on track, a passerby asked me where I was going? I told them where I intended to go and within a second they told me that the entry had moved. Back on the move, I found that famous mural within a few moments. In that moment I never asked why that simply painted mural told me 'You Are Now Entering Free Derry'. I sensed by the use of 'capitals' this part of town had their guard on, wanting to ward away any unwanted intruders. 100%, a certain Irish Republican presence could be felt in every single direction, appreciating that presence I noticed a Tricolour flag. 'End Israeli Apartheid?' Supporting Palestine? D, I noticed the connection duly! 

The free-standing 'Free Derry' wall marked this area from 1969 to 1972, standing strong within that Irish Nationalist area. Lasting as a legacy, the mural stands to commemorate the three years that 'Free Derry' represented that Tricolour flag flying neighbourhood. Sick of the situation on the 5th of January 1969, a known social activist was believed to have spray painted the sentence 'You Are Entering Free Derry'. Subsequently when British Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan visited Derry in August 1969, the sprayed painted wall was painted white! The newly painted white wall had received a full makeover with the 'You Are Entering Free Derry' professionally painted on to that well-known wall, that was all before Jim's Derry visit! A few years later the row of terrace houses where the 'Free Derry' sign was painted on was demolished, thankfully the wall with the 'statement sign' was retained and now stands between the newly built junction. Fahan Street had also been demolished, that made sense because those houses looked new! Derry schooled me! 

On The Borderline... Derry, Northern Ireland!

Along with the 'Free Derry' corner wall, I wanted to pay my respects at the 'Bloody Sunday Memorial'. Known as 'Bloody Sunday', my first interaction with this devastating day for Northern Ireland was when I lived in an Irish pub. I would hear the song 'Bloody Sunday' being played and then live on an actual Sunday by a local live 'Rebel Band'. With my visit coming up to Northern Ireland, I wanted to put that song to a real life situation and that would be the memorial obelisk. Yes, this blog post has had me looking up the cold hard facts once again because I was horrified to learn that 13 people from the Bogside area died from their gunshot injuries, dealt by the British. I kept my distance, staying back from memorial steps but I noticed how painfully young some of the victims had been on the 30th of January 1972! As the song proclaims; 'Keep Ireland for the Irish, Turn the British back to sea', I support those lyrics because it's time for the UK to end and return Northern Ireland to the 'Republic!' Yes, I said it! 

13 lives ended for what? Unarmed as well? Those British soldiers really had some nerve to unleash fire and fury in the form of bullets, those bullets bound for defenceless Irish Nationalists! In the moment, I sat on the bench with a sombre feeling in my heart, I felt some kind of way for certain. It felt so raw being only 50 years since that day, it wasn't even that long ago! I wanted to challenge myself to visit places that had dealt a blow during the Troubles but I had no idea how seeing the 'Bloody Sunday Memorial' would make me feel. If truth be told, both sides had their shared angst with either the Nationalist or Unionist communities but with an attack so 'bloody' and on a day the Catholic majority hold as a 'holy day', why then rain bullets down on 'Free Derry?' Oh, so holding a free protest march is against the law? No, the Catholic protestors were demonstrating against discrimination regarding housing and employment, was that so wrong? Did that warrant for 13 unarmed civilians to be shot down dead? I don't think so! 

On The Borderline... Derry, Northern Ireland!

I had no plans to cross over the nearby 'soft-border' over to the 'Republic Of Ireland' but with it only being a 7 minute drive from Bogside, that's why this blog will be part of my 'On The Borderline...' blog series. Aside from that nearby 'R.O.I' borderline, I wanted to pay attention to the works of the 'Bogside Artists'. Clocking the mural featuring the protest being demonstrated on what would  the 'Bogside Massacre'. As I am crafting this blog I can now say with conviction that I can connect with the mural much more after researching fully about the Catholic led protest that took place on the 30th of January 1972. Seeing the painted banners and signs had me further understanding why the Catholic people in Bogside felt duty bound to protest for their civil rights. The Catholic community rose up, they were tired of the unfairness that was being placed upon their everyday lives, no more they would take it! The Protestant community had access to a higher standard of living and opportunities. All of this indeed felt wrong, very wrong! 

I'm guessing the sign with 'Jobs Not Creed' fought against the Unionist Protestant people getting better access to jobs because their religion aligned with the leadership favouring them over the Catholic Nationalists? I would say so! The largest banner detailed 'Anti Sectarian', with a quick definition check, I saw that with such 'discrimination' or 'prejudice' being placed on a specific community meant the Catholics who protested were against the one-sided leadership in Derry. Bolstering the need for the protest because the growing tensions in that situation would implode on the Catholic community rather than the favoured Protestant few. I was bowled over by the whole Bogside area, and even more so I feel out of sorts after doing so much reading into the 'Free Derry' movement and 'Bloody Sunday' massacre. I believe Northern Ireland should have a chance to vote in a referendum, to vote for their place outside of the United Kingdom to be part of a one, true and united Ireland. It's time for the Union to be dissolved! Derry, the time is now! 

There's No London In Derry! 

Desperately Seeking Adventure 

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