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Derry/Lononderry, Northern Ireland

  
  - darkometer rating:  6 -
 
The second largest city in Northern Ireland, and infamously associated with the outbreak of the "Troubles", more specifically in the Bogside district. This was also the scene of some of the most significant events during that time, in particular Bloody Sunday
  
Today reconciliation efforts officially reign supreme, but the underlying divisions and resentments are still quite palpable. 

>More background info

>What there is to see

>Location

>Access and costs

>Time required

>Combinations with other dark destinations

>Combinations with non-dark destinations

>Photos

  
More background info: First a necessary foreword. What's in a name – or rather: two names? In this case an awful lot! The choice between the short "Derry" or the longer "Londonderry" corresponds to the deeply entrenched political/cultural divide in Northern Ireland. The former, older name of the place is preferred by the Catholic Republican/Nationalist side, the "britified" Londonderry is the choice of the Protestant Unionist/Loyalist side. It's become a shibboleth: which of the two you choose here instantly labels you as belonging to or leaning towards the one side rather than the other.
 
That way it is almost inescapable for the outsider visitor as well to offend either the one side or the other simply through the choice of name for the city. The only halfway "safe" and accepted neutral circumlocution I can see is to use both names at the same time separated by a slash. But even the order of the two could still offend. Well, I'm putting Derry before Londonderry simply because it comes first alphabetically. I wish to make it clear that I am not making a political statement that way.
 
On the ground, a certain compromise seems to have established itself. To refer to the city it is quite common to use the shorter Derry (except amongst fierce Loyalists, of course), while Londonderry is fairly accepted, even amongst Nationalists, as the name of the larger county. It's more complicated than that, of course, but this is as much space as I am willing to give the issue. Now to history:
 
The most significant event in the city's earlier history was the siege of 1689. At that time the place was actually a Protestant stronghold, and was indeed holding out strongly behind its high city walls (which are still there) when a Catholic Jacobite army besieged it for over three months until the Royal Navy sent by (Protestant) William of Orange arrived and ended it. I wouldn't mention this long-ago event if it wasn't for the fact that the Protestants, now a minority in the city, have used reference to the siege as a kind of battle cry ever since: "no surrender!" – you still see it sprayed onto walls and incorporated into Protestant murals in the relevant parts of the city (and beyond).  
  
With that we move forward three centuries – and into the actual "catchment" period for dark tourism (see concept): the 20th century. Derry/Londonderry had a very troubled time during "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s onwards. In fact it is generally agreed that the Troubles started here, more precisely in the Catholic district called the Bogside.
 
In way it had to kick off here. Catholics had long formed the majority of the population, but even so the Protestant domination in Northern Ireland shut them out from a fair vote through gerrymandering. Houses and jobs were also allocated with maximum bias, which meant that the Catholic working class disproportionally suffered from poverty, unemployment, overcrowded housing and so on. It was blatant sectarian discrimination. The walled inner city on its hill remained mainly Protestant, as the privileged kernel of the city that was literally looking down onto the lower Bogside district inhabited by the underprivileged Catholics.
 
Eventually protests amongst the Catholics against this situation began in the 1960s, partly inspired by the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. Protest marches were organized. Almost inevitably this led to confrontation with Loyalists and especially the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary – the Unionist police force).
 
In August 1969 this culminated in the so-called Battle of the Bogside, when violent riots raged for three days. Protesters threw bricks and home-made petrol bombs, the well-equipped RUC responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. Great Britain sent in the Army to bring the situation under control. At first this was welcomed even by Catholics as a neutral force that could also curtail RUC violence and Protestant aggression towards them in general. Soon, however, the violence escalated further.
 
Meanwhile "Free Derry" had been formed – a Catholic no-go area in the Bogside, barricaded-off in defence against Unionist incursions. The famous slogan on one house's gables appeared: "You are now entering Free Derry". From within the Bogside, Radio Free Derry operated. Strikes were organized. Resistance was strong – but so was the power of the state.     
 
Parts of the IRA began bombings and open attacks on the Army. The authorities responded with house searches, breaking down barricades, curfews, arrests, internment without trial, torture even. In the streets, riots carried on. And there were casualties on both sides.
 
And then on 30 January 1972 came Bloody Sunday … a mass demonstration in the Bogside that ended in a bloodbath, when the British Army shot 14 unarmed protesters dead. The event, its impact and aftermath are summarized in more detail in the chapter Museum of Free Derry.
  
Predictably, the situation after Blood Sunday was one of highest tensions. And so Britain tightened its security grip on Northern Ireland, and especially Derry/Londonderry. Following IRA synchronized bomb attacks in Belfast ten days before, the Army, in the so-called Operation Motorman, used over 20,000 soldiers and tanks/bulldozers to break down the barricades of "Free Derry" and carry out arrests. Not being able to take on such military might, the forewarned IRA activists had left the Bogside in time before than operation began. The underground struggle continued, though. Meanwhile Operation Motorman had ended the no-go-area status of Free Derry. Four people were shot during the massive operation.
 
Military camps and checkpoints were set up. The Army was clearly in for the long haul. And indeed, Derry/Londonderry became one of the most militarized regions in Europe. But also in for a long struggle were the underground and paramilitary organizations on both sides, who didn't shy away from the most brutal violence against each other as well as from attacking innocent civilian targets – see under Northern Ireland for more on this.
 
On the other hand, one of the main reasons for the whole protest movement, the unjust voting system, was soon after rectified. And indeed a Nationalist council majority in Derry/Londonderry was the outcome – for the first time since the partition of Ireland!
 
The Bogside area has since undergone massive redevelopment that left hardly any of the original houses. The gable with the famous slogan "You are now entering Free Derry" remains as a poignant relic, though in its isolation on a traffic island now looks a bit artificial. New murals have been painted onto other gables – now mostly in a more peace-advocating and commemorative style rather than the stirring aggression style of old (remnants of this can also still be found, though – see below).
 
With the Northern Ireland Peace Process having turned out largely a success, Derry/Londonderry, like Belfast, has opened up for tourism too. And that includes a good proportion of what is clearly dark tourism – but of the educational history tourism sort: international visitors coming to get an understanding of what happened here. This desire is now well catered for through guided walks, plaques explaining locations and murals, and of course through the Museum of Free Derry.
 
The end of the violence and military presence has given Derry/Londonderry a more mainstream tourism and also general economic boost. The city was even declared UK City of Culture for 2013 – mainly in order to generate more monetary influx. As such it is generally welcomed.
 
However, I've also encountered some barely concealed expressions of disapproval – namely questioning how a city with such a nationalist Irish dominance can be declared representative of the UK. There is a point in this, in theory. But in practice, it's more a standardized economic and cultural modernity that the scheme is characterized by, not any inappropriately olde-worlde Englishness nor any provocative British imperial pretensions. And that "modernity" does feel largely the same in Britain and in Ireland: branded, commercialized, apolitical. Whether that's a good thing or not is a different question.
 
When I travelled to Derry/Londonderry for my study trip in December 2012, I was in a somewhat privileged position, as I had been invited by Inch House Irish Studies Centre (external link). This had come about through the good offices of an academic I met at the iDTR launch conference in April (external links again) and whose father runs the Centre. Normally its clientele are student groups, mostly from the USA, but as December is the most off-season period of the year I was the only guest at the time.
 
I was given a private tour around the main Troubles- and Peace-Process-related sites of Derry/Londonderry and also shown some less easy-to-find bits e.g. in Waterside and the cemetery (see below) which I would probably not have found on my own (or even known about). To pass part of that privilege on I've tried my best to make it easier for regular tourists to locate those bits too in the text below and especially by means of the locations section. The "easy" bits, such as the city wall, the Bogside murals and the Museum, I was left to do on my own, which was also good for the overall balance.
 
In addition to the private tour, meetings were arranged for me with people who had in one way or another been involved in the Troubles (on both sides) and are now active in the reconciliation efforts in the area. This was quite a special part of my visit. One guy I met was a Catholic who had been in the IRA and is now very active in peace and reconciliation study programmes (not only in Ireland but also abroad … coincidentally, he had just been to Falstad – like myself). Another guy was a Protestant who had had the misfortune of being arrested on erroneous allegations during the Troubles. A car he had sold had been used as a getaway car in a terrorist attack only the next day, before the change in registration had been processed, so the authorities obviously assumed he had been involved in the act. He had to endure days of interrogation (and maybe worse) before he had to be released – only to find his community, as well as the Catholics, harbouring suspicions of their own as to his alleged involvement.
 
Such personal angles both enriched my study trip to Northern Ireland, but also made it quite intense. My host, too, gave me plenty of insights into what it must have felt like growing up and living as part of the repressed Catholic community in the area. For instance I was told how youthful friendships across the divide, which did exist despite everything, suddenly had to be suspended as the Protestant marching season came along and how incomprehensible and unjust that felt for a child.
 
But I also gained an insight into how deep the old divide still runs today, despite all the present reconciliation efforts. From the Catholic side, in particular, I gathered the impression that resentment of "the English" stemming from centuries of history (see also Republic of Ireland) is not so easy to overcome genuinely.
 
And who could blame them. In general, I must say that for the outsider, the Republican side always seems a little easier to grasp. That also seems to be the case for most of the Americans who come here and tend towards naturally falling on the Republican side. At a superficial glance, their side of fighting suppression fits more easily into a "good-guys-vs.-bad-guys" formula. These days the Protestant/Loyalist side also typically receives/generates less polished PR (see also Belfast), so they find it even harder to get their side across. The fact that they are slowly losing the status of majority amongst the whole population must make it more difficult as well. On the other hand, the aggression and über-British show of flag-waving of Unionists that resurfaced in December 2012 in Belfast does not help in generating any sympathies from outsiders either.
 
The very fact that all of this is so difficult to understand much of the time is actually part of the fascination with Northern Ireland that I have developed – as a neutral outsider, mind you. I hope that through these texts I can make a little contribution to aiding other visitors who aren't actually on guided study programmes, to get a little more educational value out of their travels to this part of the world as well.
 
 
What there is to see: In few places in the world does mainstream cultural city tourism blend so seamlessly with dark tourism. Undoubtedly the No. 1 historical attraction of Derry/Londonderry is the walled inner city – or rather: the city wall itself. 7m high, 9m thick and almost a mile (1.5km) in circumference, it's one of the few intact, and almost complete, city walls in Europe and the only one in Ireland. Guided walks for tourists naturally include a loop on the wall. And that almost inevitably includes a look at the recent dark history of the city too, namely on the south-western part from where you look down onto the Bogside, scene of so many significant events during the Troubles (see above). You can clearly see the famous large murals from up here. I walked the wall on my own, but I encountered several guided groups on the stretch above the Bogside – and when I eavesdropped on what the guides were saying, it was clear that they concentrated largely on precisely that recent dark history. So it's clearly part of both supply and demand in this city.
 
But to get a better impression and learn more about the Troubles and the Bogside, you have to go down there. And as part of that exploration of the Bogside, a visit to the museum dedicated to the civil rights struggle, and in particular to Bloody Sunday, is not to be missed. This is accordingly given its own entry here:
 
- Museum of Free Derry (aka "Bloody Sunday Museum")
 
 
But let's stay on the city wall for a little longer first … If you continue south from Royal Bastion to the Double Bastion and then head east to Bishop's Gate over Bishop Street you get to the edge of the last larger Protestant communities left in the centre of the city – all the others (who haven't moved away altogether) are now concentrated on the east bank of the River Foyle in the waterside district (see below). This community here right under the city wall is the Fountain housing estate.
 
Descend the stairs of the wall to get down to street level and you will see the security gate and passage that leads into this district. I was told that at night this gate is still locked. During the day though you can simply wander in. The high fence around the estate is a clear sign of the unease that inhabitants here must feel. The tall stone edifice that is just down the road and towering even higher than the fence is the Old Jail Tower.
 
Carry on back on the wall further east past St Columb's Cathedral and you can see to your right some openly defiant Loyalist murals and other signs with which the Protestant community here symbolically marks its fenced-in enclave against the surrounding majority of Catholics. The most in-your-face such sign is the mural that reads: "Londonderry West Bank Loyalists – Still Under Siege – No Surrender". Note also the kerbs of the street, which have been painted red, white and blue, i.e. in the colours of the Union Jack. The flag itself can be seen flying from many a rooftop too. Some of the older houses inside the Fountain estate look less glorious. Having evidently been unoccupied and boarded up for a while, some look like they are falling into a state of dereliction and disrepair.
 
Down in the Bogside, it's Catholic territory, of course. Its historical events during the Troubles are marked by several memorial monuments, information panels, and – most famously – several large-scale wall murals.
 
Let's start by the intersection of William Street and Rossville Street (known as "Aggro Corner" during the early stages of the Troubles, because here Catholic processions would often clash with Loyalist Protestants and/or the RUC/Army). The big creamy white building on the south-eastern corner is now the home to the Bogside Artists and their People's Gallery. These artists are the creators of the famous twelve political murals that can be found further down the road.
 
In the distance you can already see the Bogside's most famous relic: the gable with the slogan "You are now entering Free Derry" painted on it in big black letters … at least when I was there in December 2012 – at times the wall had been completely repainted in different colours. These days the gable is all that remains of the house and it stands isolated on a traffic island. At least there's more of that house left than of most others. The whole area has undergone such heavy redevelopment that it looks nothing like what it used to in the early 1970s!
 
On the same traffic island a bit to the north stands the Hunger Strikers' Memorial, which has as its key feature stone blocks in the shape of a "H" – in allusion to the H-block (or Maze prison – cf. Northern Ireland and Crumlin Road Gaol). A bit to the north-east by the corner of Joseph Place you can find the official Bloody Sunday Memorial. This is a comparatively traditional affair with a central obelisk and a plaque with the names of the victims (see Museum of Free Derry).
 
The political murals along Rossville Street are of different styles, ranging from abstract (but predictable) peace doves to more realistic images. One consists of portraits of famous peacemakers of the 20th century: Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mother Teresa and John Hume. The latter, in case you don't know, is the local peace hero and joint recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for his role in paving the way for an end to the Troubles through negotiation efforts.
 
Other murals are more drastic and depict scenes of violence during the Troubles, such as the Operation Motorman one showing a British Army soldier smashing a door in with a huge sledgehammer. Possibly the most famous of all the murals is The Petrol Bomber. This was painted after a photo taken during the Battle of the Bogside (see above) showing a little boy wearing a gas mask and holding a petrol bomb fashioned from a milk bottle in his hand – see Museum of Free Derry!
 
Some murals are in better shape than others – I noticed a rather faded one at Glenfada Park showing a single protester poised against an armoured police vehicle in the background. Right opposite is a mural that clearly must have been touched up quite recently. It depicts an early civil rights demonstration with people holding up slogans such as "jobs not creed" and "one man, one vote". With regard to the latter I wondered what the women thought of it back then (there are some in the mural as well) or what female visitors make of it today.
 
Also represented is a reproduction of what is possibly the most poignant image from the footage of Bloody Sunday: that of Father Edward Daly waving a white handkerchief as three others behind him carry one of the shot protesters away. (Cf. again Museum of Free Derry, which has the original handkerchief as an exhibit!)
 
All the murals have little plaques near them explaining what they represent. In addition there are information panels with short historical explanations as well as maps directing visitors to the most important points of interest in the surrounding area.
 
Beyond the "official" murals that form part of the People's Gallery, there are many more murals further down the road and up side streets, some semi-official but not part of the People's Gallery set, yet others are obviously current expressions of protest and totally unofficial.
 
A particularly classic mural, in style at least, is a couple of blocks up Westland Street and features portraits of the hunger strikers of 1981 (see Northern Ireland). One especially colourful one is to be found just north of the intersection of Rossville Street and Fahan Street: it's mostly red and contains the classic image of Che Guevara together with the Cuban and Irish flags flying either side of his head!
 
Furthermore I spotted a very faded and partly vandalized sign on a wall further down Lecky Road towards the Gasworks Community Centre that said "End British Policing in Ireland". Also on that street by a small shopping centre you can see traces left by a certain "Bogside Republican Youth" who painted electric distribution boxes in the Irish flag's colours – and apparently copied the similar practice of their Loyalist counterparts in the Fountain and Waterside districts by painting the street kerbs too, but in nationalist colours of course.  
 
Even more political were some of the "wilder" graffiti that can be seen in the area, e.g. those calling for the release from prison of Marian Price (a veteran Republican radical opposed to the Peace Process) and calling generally for support for "our POWs". The same graffiti can also be seen in huge letters on the outer city wall! Yet others take sides in other conflicts far away, such as those in support of Gaza in Palestine calling for a boycott of Israel. There is certainly a lot of political heat in the air here.
 
Even in the city's main cemetery on the hillside above the Bogside you can spot some rather drastic statements – in particular the special memorial on the northern edge of the area. This is not only dedicated to Republican "martyrs", from the hunger strikers to much more recent casualties, but features as its main element a statue of a masked IRA fighter with a machine gun. This memorial was erected as late as in the year 2000 – not exactly a contribution to reconciliation it appears …
 
At the opposite end of the scale with regard to monument design is the iconic Hands Across the Divide statues at the other end of town. The monument stands in the centre of Carlisle Roundabout at the head of Bridge Street, which takes the A2 road across the River Foyle and into the city centre. It's a double statue of two men with outstretched arms reaching out for each other, although not quite touching hands. With its clear message of reconciliation, this has since its erection in 1992 become a prime landmark of the city and its image is used widely in the area as a peace symbol.
 
A more recent addition is the Peace Bridge, which was opened only in June 2011. This is an ultra-modern-design footbridge snaking in an S-shaped curve across the River Foyle, thus linking the old city (which is mostly Catholic) with the Protestant district of Waterside on the eastern bank.
 
The bridge leads straight into a compound of the former British Army Ebrington barracks, which was being redeveloped when I was there. Parts of the barracks buildings were still empty and derelict, but the main square facing the river had evidently seen quite a lot of development money pumped into it already. The square looked tidy and landscaped and art installations are dotted around. You could easily forget about any former military presence here. The site is set to be a major venue for events during the 2013 city-of-culture scheme.
 
Behind the Ebrington complex, however, you can find some not so shiny and happy remnants of the old bitter hostilities. The Waterside Protestant district too has its political murals. These include one in the full-on aggressive martial style of old, complete with bloody sword and, of course, a Union Jack. This particular image is derived from a cover artwork of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden – but altered to show slain Republicans, severed hands and the half-destroyed Free Derry gable in the background … The writing above the picture calls for a "fight to the end" and claims "we determine the guilty, we determine the punishment". Eerie! It's a bit faded and peeling but overall still pretty intact. Note again also the painted kerbs in the vicinity. And here even telegraph poles feature the red-white-and-blue stripes. You know what part of town you're in …
 
Also in the Waterside district is the Workhouse Museum, housed in refurbished parts of a genuine 19th century workhouse for the poor (see under Ireland). The exhibition covers not only the workhouse history of the place and the famine (see again under Ireland), but as an add-on for war history buffs also has a section about the role played by Derry/Londonderry in the Battle of the Atlantic during WWII. It's located at 23 Glendermott Road and is open Monday to Thursday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission free.
 
Back across the river in the old city centre, one otherwise more mainstream tourist attraction, in fact one of the city's major ones, is the Tower Museum. This also has a section about recent history, but is otherwise concerned primarily with much older stuff and archaeology. The museum is located at the northern corner of the city wall (at Union Hall Place).  
 
Not far from there, on the outside of the city wall by Shipquay Gate near the Guildhall, you can spot an intriguing pair of memorial plaques. One is older and dedicated to all who "lost their lives as a result of war and conflict" (including, presumably, those casualties of the Troubles), while the newer one below is, again, a political message, though much more subtle than those I saw in the Bogside. It reads: "In Memory of all those killed by weapon systems produced within this City & District". To understand the reference you have to know that a major arms manufacturer (of guided missiles) had set up shop in the area in 1999.
 
In the very centre of the inner walled city is a square known as The Diamond. In its centre stands a "traditional" war memorial. It's dedicated to those who lost their lives serving in World War One and features statues of soldiers in quite aggressive poses, like ramming a bayonet into an imaginary foe in the air. The poppy wreathes laid down by various organizations (such as the Girl Guides or the YMCA) made for some bizarre visual contrasts.
 
All in all, there's enough to keep the dark tourist occupied for quite some time here. And it's extremely worth the while. Some aspects are lighter, especially the incredible progress made in terms of reconciliation. Other parts are quite dark. The very darkest aspect for me was not the Bogside and all the Bloody Sunday commemoration, but rather the still defiantly confident, and even downright aggressive, expressions of the Protestant/Loyalist stance in the Fountain and Waterside districts. Similarly, the indications of Republican/Nationalist readiness for leaving the path of non-violence, as could be found just beyond Rossville Street in the Bogside, were somewhat disturbing too.
 
In contrast to this I found it an especially positive surprise how open the actual people were that I met – I had expected much more silence shrouding the painful past of the place. But instead even the regular taxi driver who took me from the bus station to Inch House in Donegal (see above) made the ride feel more like a guided tour (cf. Black Taxi tours). He quite eagerly pointed out various locations en route that had been sites of e.g. ambushes or Army checkpoints and such like and at the same time expressed his gratitude that it was now all so different. It underscored my overall impression that in Derry/Londonderry an acute sense of history is very much alive and all-pervading. Totally fascinating.
 
 
Location: in the north-western corner of Northern Ireland, close to the border with the North-East Donegal area of the Republic of Ireland. From Belfast it is most easily reached by road (car or bus services), although there's also a railway connection, scheduled for an improvement plan … You can even catch a plane for the short hop (if you find it justifiable).
 
Google maps locators:
 
City centre (The Diamond): [54.9956,-7.3221]
 
City Wall with view over the Bogside: [54.9952,-7.3251]
 
Bishop's Gate: [54.9937,-7.3246]
 
Fountains estate with Loyalist murals and painted kerbs: [54.9936,-7.3213]
 
Free Derry Corner: [54.9957,-7.3268]
 
Bogside memorials and murals: [54.9983,-7.3238] to ca. [54.991,-7.332]
   
Cemetery with IRA statue: [54.99225,-7.34386]
 
Hands Across the Divide sculpture: [54.99176,-7.32038]
 
Peace Bridge: [54.9979,-7.3179]
 
Ebrington ex barracks [54.998,-7.313]
 
Waterside mural: [54.996595,-7.309071]
 
Tower Museum: [54.9973,-7.3207]
 
 
Access and costs: quite easy to get to by road or public transport from within Northern Ireland (or the Republic); mostly not too expensive or even free.
 
Details: Getting to Derry/Londonderry is most convenient, quickest and cheapest by bus – as is generally the case in Ireland. There are frequent connections to Belfast and other places within Northern Ireland, as well as several fast links to Dublin and beyond in the Republic of Ireland. In theory there's also a rail link to Belfast, but this is still undergoing work and may not be running properly for some time, but may in future be a viable alternative to travel by bus. The train station is on the Waterside east bank of the River Foyle. The central bus station (called Foyle – to avoid the city name dispute) is more conveniently located just yards away from the Guildhall and the north-eastern edge of the walled city centre.
 
Within the city, getting around is best done on foot. It's not a big place so almost everywhere is within easy walking distance. With regard to the city walls, there is no alternative to walking anyway. Only some of the places a bit further away from the inner city may require some form of transport, such as Waterside or the cemetery. But at a push, these are also reachable on foot.
 
Guided walking tours are offered by several companies/organizations, ranging from those concentrating on the city wall to those more thematically dedicated ones in the Bogside. Amongst the latter are those offered by the People's Gallery, with walks led by the artists themselves. And then there's the Free Derry Walking Tours. Don't get it wrong, these are not for free, but walks around "Free Derry" – and they cost £5. They depart two to three times a day from outside the Museum of Free Derry (discounted combination tickets available). Tickets for these can also be obtained from the Tourist Information Office.
 
As regards accommodation options in Derry/Londonderry I can't speak from experience (because I actually stayed in Donegal at Inch House – see above) but there are said to be several good B&Bs, some right in the Bogside, and I also saw several of the usual chain budget hotels. Eating out options are bit more restricted but some gems can be found (even in unexpected locations on the east side of the river – cue word Brown's).
 
Time required: To see all the sites listed above you'll probably need more than a single day. I had two days in the area and even then struggled to get it all done. But then again I also had time allocated to meeting people. For a normal tourist visit, two days should suffice. For in-depth study, though, the sky (or rather: the end of time) is the limit.
 
Combinations with other dark destinations: see under Northern Ireland, and in particular Belfast.
 
Combinations with non-dark destinations: Northern Ireland's prime tourist attraction, the Giant's Causeway, is within fairly quick reach from Derry/Londonderry, c.a. 40 miles (65 km) to the north-east. It's a fantastically otherworldly geographical formation of hexagonal basalt columns and interlocking "paving slabs" of volcanic origin extending from the cliffs out to the sea off the North Antrim coast. If you have your own vehicle you can drive it yourself in no time – or join one of the many tour offered to this top sight. From Bushmills there is even a scenic train going up there!
 
Over the border just to the west of the city, lies the Republic of Ireland's northernmost county of Donegal, which offers those who like these things the windswept rougher charm of Celtic landscapes. It is also one of the least densely populated parts of the Emerald Isle.
 
 
  • Derry 01 - a brittle peaceDerry 01 - a brittle peace
  • Derry 02 - on the city wallDerry 02 - on the city wall
  • Derry 03 - cannons and a Unionist Union JackDerry 03 - cannons and a Unionist Union Jack
  • Derry 04 - cannon pointing towards the Republican BogsideDerry 04 - cannon pointing towards the Republican Bogside
  • Derry 05 - caged-in Protestant quarterDerry 05 - caged-in Protestant quarter
  • Derry 06 - security gate to the Unionist enclaveDerry 06 - security gate to the Unionist enclave
  • Derry 07 - defiantly under perceived siegeDerry 07 - defiantly under perceived siege
  • Derry 08 - no entry for unwelcome Catholics hereDerry 08 - no entry for unwelcome Catholics here
  • Derry 09 - looking up to the city wall from the BogsideDerry 09 - looking up to the city wall from the Bogside
  • Derry 10 - the main landmark of the BogsideDerry 10 - the main landmark of the Bogside
  • Derry 11 - Bloody Sunday monumentDerry 11 - Bloody Sunday monument
  • Derry 12 - Bloody Sunday not forgottenDerry 12 - Bloody Sunday not forgotten
  • Derry 13 - reproduction of one of the most famous images of Bloody SundayDerry 13 - reproduction of one of the most famous images of Bloody Sunday
  • Derry 14 - the Bogside artists centreDerry 14 - the Bogside artists centre
  • Derry 15 - more civil rights muralsDerry 15 - more civil rights murals
  • Derry 16 - young victim and a broken gunDerry 16 - young victim and a broken gun
  • Derry 17 - four famous peacemakersDerry 17 - four famous peacemakers
  • Derry 18 - commemoration and an old menaceDerry 18 - commemoration and an old menace
  • Derry 19 - nor have they learned to spell properly yetDerry 19 - nor have they learned to spell properly yet
  • Derry 20 - clever referenceDerry 20 - clever reference
  • Derry 21 - masculine language in civil rights tooDerry 21 - masculine language in civil rights too
  • Derry 22 - map of Bogside sitesDerry 22 - map of Bogside sites
  • Derry 23 - hunger strikers mural a bit off the beaten trackDerry 23 - hunger strikers mural a bit off the beaten track
  • Derry 24 - main memorial for the hunger strikersDerry 24 - main memorial for the hunger strikers
  • Derry 25 - gasworks community centreDerry 25 - gasworks community centre
  • Derry 26 - current graffiti in the BogsideDerry 26 - current graffiti in the Bogside
  • Derry 27 - kerb painting here too but in Republican coloursDerry 27 - kerb painting here too but in Republican colours
  • Derry 28 - apparently deadly graffitiDerry 28 - apparently deadly graffiti
  • Derry 29 - contemporary alliances abroad expressed in graffiti tooDerry 29 - contemporary alliances abroad expressed in graffiti too
  • Derry 30 - old, non-beautified muralDerry 30 - old, non-beautified mural
  • Derry 31 - another old statementDerry 31 - another old statement
  • Derry 32 - well-armoured housingDerry 32 - well-armoured housing
  • Derry 33 - the new Peace BridgeDerry 33 - the new Peace Bridge
  • Derry 34 - former Army barracks on the other sideDerry 34 - former Army barracks on the other side
  • Derry 35 - abandoned and empty ex-Army barracksDerry 35 - abandoned and empty ex-Army barracks
  • Derry 36 - looking back over the riverDerry 36 - looking back over the river
  • Derry 37 - old-style aggressive Protestant mural east of the riverDerry 37 - old-style aggressive Protestant mural east of the river
  • Derry 38 - and an aggressive Republican monument in the cemeteryDerry 38 - and an aggressive Republican monument in the cemetery
  • Derry 39 - the cemetery beyond the football stadiumDerry 39 - the cemetery beyond the football stadium
  • Derry 40 - the city centre in peaceful Xmas decoDerry 40 - the city centre in peaceful Xmas deco
  • Derry 41 - less peaceful World War memorialDerry 41 - less peaceful World War memorial
  • Derry 42 - strange juxtapositionDerry 42 - strange juxtaposition
  • Derry 43 - the new plaque is a reference to a nearby missile weapons factoryDerry 43 - the new plaque is a reference to a nearby missile weapons factory
  • Derry 44 - the reconciliation statues have become a landmark thoughDerry 44 - the reconciliation statues have become a landmark though
 
 

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