Derry: The City
The city of Derry is probably as old as Ireland itself. A monastery was founded there in the sixth century, but people had been living in that area for centuries before that. The name Derry comes from an Irish word Daire, which means oak grove. The oak grove from which the city got its name was originally on an island in the river Foyle, but the island eventually became part of the land on the west bank of the river in a wet, boggy area. That part of the city eventually became known as the Bogside, a name that endures to this day.

free derry

      Free Derry Corner today
and as it was in the 1970s
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free derry then

A Visit to Derry

I visited Derry in January 2014. The beautiful old walled city contains much history within its walls and in the surrounding neighborhood. Although now a peaceful place, evidence of the city's recent history can be found everywhere.

Derry is located about fifteen minutes from County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. The city is divided by the River Foyle. The population on the west bank is heavily Catholic; the east bank is divided approximately 50-50 between Catholics and Protestants. The peace bridge, pictured on the right, was dedicated in the year 2011 and depicts an image of handshaking in friendship as the city and its population attempt to reconcile their historic differences.

The center part of the city is surrounded by fifteen foot thick walls with four main gates leading in and out of the area. For a while during the city's history, Catholics were not allowed to lives inside the walled portion. Although the walled section on the west bank of the River Foyle is an area known as the Bogside, the area where bloody Sunday took place on January 30, 1972.

The Museum of Free Derry, located just off Rossville Street in the Bogside area, provides a detailed story of the events on Bloody Sunday, 1972, a key event in the history of The Troubles. The images, including sounds and video recordings, bring the hoffific event to life.

derry peace bridge

The Peace Bridge above was opened in June 2011. It connects the two sides of hte city and depicts two heands reaching out to shake in friendship. It is part of hte efforts going on throughout Northern Ireland to reconcile historic differences bewtween the Catholic and Protestant citizens of the Six Counties.

Although progress has been made, tensions remain high in parts of Northern Ireland. Sporadic violence continues to erupt in as the reconciliation process continues. Much of the recent violence has been centered in the east and southeastern area of Northern Ireland, centered around the Belfast. The future of Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom remains uncertain. The peace process began in Derry region, and it remains one of the more peacful areas today.

Agreements in force provided the future of Northern Ireland is in the hands of the people of Northern Ireland. Whether the entire island of Ireland will we completely reunited under the Republic remains in question. The size of the Catholic population is approaching that of the current Protestant majority. When that tipping point is reached, it is likely that change of some sort will occur.
Londonderry Affair Home | The People's Gallery: The Derry Murals | Updated April 19, 2014