Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Views of Derry

St Eugene's Cathedral where we had Mass this morning celebrated by the Bishop, Seamus Hegarty:

The walls of the city:

The view from the walls, overlooking the Bogside and the Catholic Cathedral:

And down at the Bogside:

I was a youngster of 11 years of age when 'The Troubles' broke out and Bernadette Devlin (pictured above on the murals) led the civil rights marches. Being of an Irish family, I was imbued with the ideals of Republicanism and we naturally took the side of the civil rights movement. The movement led, as we know, to terrible acts of terrorism by people claiming to act in the name of Catholics or Protestants. It was fascinating to visit the site of tensions but where there is now peace.

A young Catholic man who works in the hotel where I am staying said how the past is now very much the past. He has friends, both Catholic and Protestant. No one today wants a return to those times of violence.


  1. Fascinating post. I remember that summer, just a little before my 13th birthday. It seems to me that the English troops had initially been called in to protect the Catholics who'd been attacked by Protestants - but then "switched sides" so to speak, relatively quickly.

    One thing too about Ms. Devlin. Even in the US when I was a kid, I remember the "Our Little Messanger" [a small newletter to younger primary school kids] carried a small item how she was the youngest elected representative to hold such a high position. She should be given a thumbs up also, for bearing her illegitimate child to term, rather than aborting. AFAIK she always had kept the father's name a secret.

    But I must say I am absolutely FLOORED that some moron gave their kid "Che G." as the middle name. That's like hanging "Adolf Hitler" on your child. Don't they realize how murderous and blood thirsty that guy was? It's like painting a big sign on your house saying "Hi, I'm a complete idiot who thinks he is cool" or "Yes, I approve of this murderous thug!"

  2. Bernadette Devlin was considered a heroine of the republican cause, not that she could necessarily be held up as a paragon of virtue. A fallen person, like the rest of us... On the abortion issue, I hope she would never have considered it and that she would have 'wanted' her child. Abortion then was pretty much illegal. And the abortion law in N. Ireland, as in the Republic, is still very restrictive. To this day the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply in Northern Ireland. The Westminster Government has tried for many years to extend the abortion law to Northern Ireland but the political parties there have rejected it.

    Sinn Fein's position is somewhat unclear. They joined the other N.I. party leaders in objecting to Westminster plans to extend abortion to N.I. (All Four Northern Ireland Party Leaders say No to Legalizing Abortion) but at their Dublin conference in 2006 they passed a pro-abortion motion. I suspect SF is basically pro-abortion but anti-Westminster.

  3. Yes, I knew about the NI stance regards abortion. But since abortion was legal in the UK in '67 - it really wasn't much more than a stone's throw away. Although, I suppose you could argue that perhaps a high profile person might have their story leaked, if they'd sought an abortion...the other side of the coin was that at the time she had the child there was a much greater stigma to having an illigitimate child.


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