A Wall For All

A new braille plaque bearing the now-iconic saying “You are now enterting Free Derry” was unveiled last Tuesday (January 24th) by the founder of Children In Crossfire Richard Moore (featured previously in The Derry Lama) who was blinded in 1972 when he was hit with a rubber bullet.

Derry Journal has a gallery of images from the launch.

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An Injustice To One Is An Injustice To All

In his Letter From A Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr wrote, “I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The marchers portrayed in the poster above carry placards supporting immigrants (“No human is illegal”), the poor (“Poverty is the worst form of violence”) and Palestine. The poster calls for participants in the annual march, which retraces the route taken on the fateful day in 1972, beginning at Creggan shops and proceeding to Free Derry Corner. Yesterday’s march concluded a week of talks and other commemorative events. Today – January 30th – is the fifty-first anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry.

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Men From The Fountain

All three major WWI memorials with relevance to Ulster – Thiepval Memorial, Menin Gate, Ulster Tower – are brought together in a gallery in Londonderry’s Fountain as part of a tribute to the “Men from the Fountain who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.”

“Thiepval Memorial: The Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme is a war memorial to 72,195 missing British and South African servicemen, who died in the battles of the Somme of the First World War between 1915 and 1918, with no known grave. It was built in red brick and limestone between 1928 and 1932. It is near the village of Thiepval, Picardy in France. A visitors’ centre opened in 2004.”

“Menin Gate: The Menin Gate memorial to the missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the 54,395 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown. The memorial is located at the eastern exit of the town and marks the starting point for one of the main roads out of the town that led Allied soldiers to the front line. The Menin Gate memorial was unveiled on 24 July 1927.”

“Ulster Tower: The Ulster Tower is Northern Ireland’s national war memorial. It was one of the first memorials to be erected on the western front and commemorates the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division and all those from Ulster who served in the First World War. The memorial was officially opened on 19 November 1921 and is a very close copy of Helen’s Tower which stands in the grounds of the Clandeboye estate, near Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland. Many of the men of the Ulster division trained in the estate before moving to England and then France early in 1916. The Tower is staffed by members of the Somme Association, which is based in Belfast.”

Previously the site of In God We Trust.

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The Global Order

There are Orange Order lodges in Ghana and Togo and there were previously lodges in South Africa and Nigeria (History Ireland | WP). A photo of the Ghanaian representative in the mural – Dennis Tette Tay – is included in this BBC article. The Canadian representative is perhaps from “Mohawk Loyal Orange Lodge No. 99” on the Mohawk Reservation at Desoronto, Ontario, Canada (Fb).

Vandalised with “KAH” and “UDA scum!” graffiti.

The Fountain, Londonderry

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Thousands Are Sailing

Shane O’Malley’s (web) piece for the “Famine Street Art Trail” (youtube) in Derry was inspired by the tune The Coffin Ships (score | youtube) by Tommy Peoples (web). The other piece in the “trail” is Omin’s Stars, Look Down/A Réaltaí, Féachaíg’ Anuas.

Great James Street, Derry

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Flying Solo

On May 20th, 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Harbour Grace in Newfoundland hoping to be the first woman to fly single-handedly across the Atlantic and make it to Paris. It didn’t go entirely to plan. Fifteen hours later, however, she landed in Robert Gallagher’s farm in Ballyarnett, forced down by bad weather and technical problems. The farmer’s wife recorded her recollections of the event, three years later (youtube).

“This work was designed and executed by Tom Agnew, Ceramic Artist, for Leafair Community Association (Fb) as part of the re-imaging communities programme funded by the Northern Ireland Arts Council – 2010.”

Lenamore Rd, Derry

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Peace If Possible, Truth At All Costs

“Londonderry west bank loyalists” are “still under siege”, at first from two decades of “Republican violence” – “Between 1971 and 1991 the Protestant population of the Cityside declined by 83.4% as a result of Republican violence (Shirlow et al. 2005)” – hence the boarded- and dressed-up windows – and now from the “PSNI”.

(The words “as a result of Republican violence” are not included in the Shirlow article).

Hawkin Street, in the Fountain, Londonderry.

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Sovereignty, Not Stormont

This is the scene on the green-spaces on Lecky Road, Derry. The area is heavily trafficked by tourists visiting around Free Derry Corner (Visual History of the front | rear), the People’s Gallery murals (Visual History), the Hunger Strike Memorial, and the Museum Of Free Derry (web). Anti-Agreement groups thus use the area to get their messages across. In today’s post we see “Sovereignty, not Stormont” from the 32CSM (web); an RNU (Fb) board in support of the “Craigavon 2”; “Stop the extradition of Liam Campbell”, probably from Republican Sin Féin (web) – contrary to the board beneath the one showing, Campbell was extradited to Lithuania but his case was dismissed in October on the grounds that the statute of limitations had passed (Sunday World); an IRA nail-up on a light-pole; a “Remember the ten” 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1918 hunger strike, from IRSP/IRSM (web); and an IRPWA (web) board supporting republican prisoners (previously included in British Gaols In Ireland).

Also on the green is an olive tree for unity.

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Death To Informants

Republican graffiti in Fahan Street, Derry, adjacent to the Che Guevara Lynch mural. Any specific reference is unknown; in 2019 there was controversy over signs threatening informers in relation to the killing of Lyra McKee (e.g. extra).

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Derry’s Dead Children

This is a memorial garden in Westland Street, Derry, in remembrance of children who have died during the Troubles.

They are listed in the following order on the main stone: Bernadette McCool, Carol Ann McCool, Damien Harkin, Gary Gormley, Annette McGavigan, Manus Deery, James O’Hagan, Gerald Doherty, Daniel Hegarty, Tony Diamond, Gordon Gallagher, Kathleen Feeny, Michael Meenan, John McDaid, Paul Whitters, Stephen McConomy, Charles Love.

McGavigan was the first to die at the hands of British forces, in September 1971, though the cross on the right is to nine-year-old Damien Harkin, who was crushed in July 1971 by a British Army lorry accident in the Bogside (MFD). Gary Gormley was also crushed by an armoured car (MFD). McGavigan is depicted in one of the murals in the ‘Bogside Gallery‘ series: The Death Of Innocence.

Other deaths were earlier but did not involve British forces: the McCool sisters died in a premature explosion in Creggan in 1970 and James (Jim) O’Hagan was killed in August 1971 by a fellow IRA member.

Gerry Doherty, Kathleen Feeney, Tony Diamond, Gordon Gallagher, Michael Meenan, John McDaid, and Charles Love also died accidentally by their own or IRA actions (MFD profiles, which lists 20 children, adding David Devine, Joseph Connolly, and Kathryn Eakin). Charles Love was killed by flying masonry from an IRA bomb; he is remembered by a plaque in Fahan Street. There is also a plaque to Stephen McConomy in Fahan Street and long ago he was depicted in a mural in Glenfada Park.

The Manus Deery plaque under the tree to the right was previously on a wall behind the Bogside Inn, before the pub was torn down – see M01919.

On the left are words from WB Yeats’s The Stolen Child, also used in a Belfast mural to Julie Livingstone.

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