SWMBO writes about the Bogside. For an abbreviated timeline of the Troubles and Bogside, please scroll to the end of the last post.
Fahbio and I head out to Bogside but first, we need a half-way decent coffee so we enter the Evil Empire.
There are parallels between visiting Northern Ireland and visiting former Yugoslavia. You read and read and learn and learn and visit and visit and all of a sudden you understand it. Just as you are summarizing everything in your head, poof, it’s gone and you’re as confused as ever. Welcome to – A Complicated Space.
I dragged the family to Northern Ireland because I wanted to finally understand the Troubles. I was born in 1967. Events unfolded as I was a girl and, as a heathen, I didn’t understand how Christian people could become so divided.
Surprisingly, after the first day, Fahbio said how much he liked the city. I asked him why and the response cemented for me why we’re a great team after 25 years – it boils down to the fact that we both love down to earth, real stuff.
His reasons for liking Derry are: small city, very walkable, but so much to see/learn/do in a concentrated space and no fancy ladies with handbags and click-clack shoes rushing off to work. I agree 100%.
Fahbio and I left the kids behind and returned to the Bogside as the sun was setting. We had already, as a family, visited the Free Derry Museum the day before. I recommend it – but not for kids under 14 at least. It involves A LOT of reading and it presumes a level of pre-knowledge. The museum commemorates Bloody Sunday (see timeline, previous post). If you are interested, click on the museum link and you will find a lot of detailed historical information.
One of the most beautiful artworks to emerge from the Troubles:
Free Derry was a self-declared, autonomous area of Derry that existed from 1969-1972. John Casey painted the slogan “You Are Now Entering Free Derry” on a building wall. When the building was destroyed, the painted gable end of the building was preserved and has become a symbol of Derry.
Historically Protestants lived within the city walls. In past decades, most Protestants moved to the other side of the river. However, there are small enclaves of Protestants still living outside the city walls on the bogside of town.
Being a few steps from Bogside Inn was the only time I felt a bit nervous during our walk and that was mostly due to the drunken yobs out front coupled with the radical thang.
We walked around Bogside. I had come to Derry/Londonderry to learn about the Troubles and see the murals. The artistic quality of the murals did not disappoint. The murals are a prominent feature in the Bogside and are the work of only 3 artists, who, together are called the Bogside Artists.
IMHO they are talented artists but whacky individuals. After a long relationship with the City of Derry, Derry Council broke off relations with the Bogside Artists in 2013. The break-off is the result of comments about Council staff and stemmed from a disagreement regarding mural maintenance. Please, don’t get them started on J.K. Rowling and how she plagiarized Harry Potter. Don’t get them started on a lot of things.
Anyways, their murals are spot on.
Quote of the Day comes from an anonymous spectator to the October 5, 1968 protest march that is said to have been the start of the troubles:
When the inspector drove his baton into that protest, he burst an abscess that had been festering for generations. It was an abscess where pus came from the very heart of our society, from the very heart of each of us. The screams weren’t to stop for 25 years.