On our way to Derry, Brian ( Our super fabulous bus driver, who is the best bus driver in all Ireland) made an impromptu stop at an ancient round fort. It was said to be made during the time of Christ. We climbed and climbed and climbed the hill to reach it. The bus was sputtering and complaining but we made it. The view was stunning.
|Stairs led to different levels within the fort.|
|Gateway to the outer world.|
We crossed the "border" into Northern Ireland and finally reached Derry where Brian explained the meaning of the murals. A brief history on Derry. When people think of the troubles in Northern Ireland they normally think of Belfast in the East, but Derry was also in turmoil in the west. Derry is split by the River Foyle. The "rich" side on the east of the Foyle is called the waterside and is where mostly Protestant Unionists (those loyal to the Union) lived. It contains the good farming land. The Bogside is where the oppressed Catholic Irish who want Ireland to be its own nation (Nationalists) were sent to.
The trouble came in because the Unionists wanted Ireland to be part of the Europian union while the Nationalists wanted to be free from England. So gunfire and bloodshed resulted.
The picture below represents how the Nationalists felt. The bird is a lark. If you cage a lark it stops singing. If you deprive it of food it weakens. If you beat it, it dies. This is how the Irish felt.
|The faces of those killed.|
This Mural depicts a young man standing in the middle of the road which acted as the battlefield. The battles would come in predictable heats. Gunfire would fill the streets and dust rose from the scuffle then when it was time for dinner both sides would retreat and return later. Not so for this young man. He stood there all the time. He would wait for the others to return and would be the first to fire at the enemy. Only his ammo was not bullets, but bricks, rocks, and other rubble scattered over the streets. His shield was a bed spring. Eventually, he was killed when he was run over by the enemy in their trucks.
On a slightly brighter note: the rest of Derry. Derry is one of the only walled cities remaining. It was neat getting to walk on them. Despite the age of these walls and the battles they have seen. The walls of Derry have never been breached. In the 1600s (I believe) the Irish were rebelling against the English in Derry. They held Derry in a lockdown siege. 20,000 English lived in Derry but they were reduced to 8,000 because of starvation. If the Irish would have known how weak the English were, History would have dramaticly changed.
Sorry for the long post, but this City held so much depth. I haven't which day yet, but next week I'll do a post about my brouhaha on Croagh Patrick -- Ireland's Holy Mountian. That is a story well deserving of its own post...