Monday, 24 September 2012

A few hours in Derry (or Londonderry)

On our way to Donegal we stopped off to take a look at Derry.  Neither of us realised how small the walled city is.  It is a short walk from one side to the other.  What we wanted to see were the murals.  We started in an obvious loyalist area as the kerb stones and lamp posts were painted red, white and blue.  However we didn't find any murals.  Then we went to Bogside, which is the nationalist area, and found lots of murals including the most recent peace mural depicting a dove and an oak leaf as symbols of hope for the future.  The dove is the name of St Columba, the city's founder, who is said to have build his monastery in an oak grove.  The colours of the spectrum expresses what the Artists mean by peace.  The colours of the mural say that peace without freedom is no peace at all.

There is a new pedestrian bridge across the River Foyle, called the Peace Bridge, and a sculpture showing two people with hands almost touching which is called Across the Divide.  In 2013 Londonderry will be a European City of Culture.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Visit to Ireland

We were invited to give a talk in Northern Ireland which may have extended to four talks.  That fell through but as we had booked the ferry we decided to see if we could arrange anything else.  Thanks to some help from friends we managed to book a further two talks, one in the Republic and one in Northern Ireland.  As they are not until the end of the week we are visiting Donegal.  We arrived in Belfast on the overnight ferry from Liverpool and drove to Portrush via Cushendun, Carrick-a-Rede and the Giant's Causeway.