Clare has her daily fix of brain food, but though this particular game is on her phone, she brings it up for my entertainment. I get most of them first go, to be honest. This one’s easy: we were there, not three months ago.
The last day in Ireland. Four days in the North, four photos with people in them, all taken in Derry — then four days in the Republic, four photos taken in different places and not a person to be seen (unless we count yesterday’s Madonna). Our drive back to Derry airport was partly done through the utterly empty landscapes of the Glenveeagh National Park. Lough Barra is in the middle of nowhere, but does have this slipway on it: maybe there is good fishing to be done there.
In Donegal one sometimes feels one has gone back in time. Definitely, the tourist facilities need to catch up a little. Our B & B was kind of rustic, as you can see.
I’m only joking. Actually this was a scene in one of the reproduced historic Irish cottages in the Glencolumbkille Folk Centre. This village, out on the west coast of the world (well, Europe anyway), thereby becomes the 400th different named location to feature on the blog. (See the stats page if you really want the full list.)
We spent the day on the island of Árrain Mhór, which in Gaelic just means ‘Big Island’. And it is fairly big, maintaining a permanent population of a few hundred, enough to justify a regular ferry service from the mainland, anyway. And here is the 3.30pm boat back to Ireland, coming in reasonably on schedule.
Time to cross the border into the Republic of Ireland, getting out of the UK for the first time since late November. Time to get out of the city and into the country — right into it. More of this over the next few days, I sure hope.
In 1689 there was civil war across Britain and Ireland as the Catholic King James II and the Protestant William of Orange vied for the throne. Derry was besieged for months before the forces of William finally prevailed, there and in the later Battle of the Boyne. And that victory has basically defined British politics ever since, and certainly Northern Irish politics.
The annual commemoration of the siege of Derry, the Apprentice Boys’ parade, is not as politically charged as once it was — in 1969 this event effectively set off the whole Troubles — but one might as well still see it as a political demonstration, conducted by a large number of middle-aged white men affecting a military style of dress. It made for good photo opportunities, but I document without sympathising.
The media would like us to think that all is heading for some kind of climate-related disaster, but personally I’m quite enjoying the decent weather this summer, which seems to have extended out to Northern Ireland, at least this week. And she is having a good time in it too.
On 30th January 1972, not more than a hundred yards from the Bed & Breakfast where we are staying in Derry, the British Army killed 14 citizens of its own country, and wounded 14 more. It took decades, but in 2010 it finally came out how the Estalishment massacred these innocent people, as this quote from a radio conversation between a soldier and his officer reveals: “This chap is clearly unarmed, but can I shoot him anyway?” (The answer was yes.)
The Museum of Free Derry now stands more-or-less on the spot where this atrocity took place, and I’m glad it’s there, and doesn’t depend on state funding. The present bunch of ruling morons are as likely to encourage moves towards a united Ireland as they are anything else. Sadly, I’m English, and can’t secede with them.
Hey, I’m on holiday. Still in my own country — just about. But Derry, Northern Ireland, is the westernmost city in the UK and doesn’t really feel like the rest of the place for lots of different reasons. Of which more in tomorrow’s post. The Peace Bridge crosses the River Foyle, which is, essentially, the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland — only not quite, at this point. It’s that uncertainty which defines this place, it seems to me.