Monday, August 14, 2006

Derry after the March

I arrived in Derry yesterday afternoon not realising the significance of the day: Apprentice Boys' March.

The first sign I had entered the city was graffiti on the walls and I realised I had not seen much tagging recently: perhaps most Irish towns clean it up promptly when it happens. Then I saw an armoured police vehicle. Next we passed under the bridge en route to the bus station and I could see that marchers were passing overhead.
I have not heard that there was much trouble at the March but I basically kept out of town and did my laundry. (One pair of jeans does get smelly when you wear them every day as it has turned cold!) This morning though I have been exploring the town and there are a few signs of what happened - a few burnt out vehicles and bonfires still smouldering.
The first thing I did in the city was find the walls and walk around them. They are certainly impressive, being nearly intact and quite a few metres wide. You also get a wonderful view from the top of them. The murals that have been painted on some Bogside buildings are very powerful and quite a few are visible from the walls. From the walls you also look over to the Catholic Cathedral in its hilltop position. I also walked past the Fountain area of town, right up close against the walls, and here Union Jacks were flying and some fires still smouldering.
As I wandered some more in the city I began to find all the divisions quite disturbing. I cannot imagine what life was like here in the Troubles and whether the divisions still run deep, even though life appears on the surface to be more peaceful. Maybe if you come here on any other day it just seems like a normal peaceful city... as I suppose it mostly is these days. I hope the people here know peace and justice.

No comments:

Post a Comment