Where have you been that has the most interesting history?
We drove from our home base in Portadown to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, to the city of Londonderry. Being a border town, it has witnessed a lot of tension between the two divisions of Ireland.
In particular, it is the site of Bloody Sunday (a massacre you might have heard about in a U2 song), where police opened fire on a group of protesters, killing 14 innocent people on January 30, 1972. The attack was unprovoked, and it sparked rage in the town’s citizens (and those of the entire country, really) as families mourned.
Those in power attempted to justify the act by planting false evidence and shifting the blame. They claimed the unarmed protesters were actually throwing bombs or hiding guns. In the end, it took 12 years for all victims to be finally exonerated and the act deemed unjustified and unjustifiable.
The Museum of Free Derry showcases the history of this day, including a full timeline of events leading up to it. We also saw original propaganda posters and banners used during the protests. We also observed the many murals throughout the city depicting tragic scenes of the conflict.
It was interesting to read and hear all about it in the museum, only to return to our car and hear the verbal battle waging over Brexit and how to handle the issue of the currently nearly nonexistent border. I hope the current issues don’t also end in bloodshed.
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