Derry Essay 3: Sharing our Past, Sharing our Future

A couple of years ago at an event to promote the Walled City cultural tourism attractions at Stormont, Martin McGuinness talked about ‘Derry’ and ‘Londonderry’. With those two words he gave explicit recognition to the multiple narratives that are required to tell Northern Ireland’s story. The story that Derry/Londonderry wishes to tell entwines Colmcille, Plantation, 1689, and Free Derry with a cultural story that brings us into the present day.  What was impressive about that event was how this rich …

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Slugger ‘talking local’ in Derry next week…

I’m going to be in Derry for a few days next week. I’m keen to organise an informal get together for people already involved in social media or keen to get more involved in it. In particular I want to look at how the bid for the City of Culture might be made more open and facilitate greater input from ordinary citizens.  But we are also planning to set up a freestanding and independent hyperlocal social media hub to help, …

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Derry Essays 2: A city on the border…

Derry is in the UK, true enough, but not only in the UK. The potential ‘UK City of Culture’ now stretches well beyond the boundaries of the state. Housing estates full of Derry commuters have sprung up in recent years on all the roads that stretch north, south and west of the city centre and across the nearby international boundary. Some people jokingly refer to Golan Hill on the outskirts of Buncrana in Co Donegal as ‘Golan Heights’ because there …

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Derry Essays 1: Precarious future of the living Protestant heritage

“Derry/Londonderry” is either an expression or stalemate or a statement of intent to create a truly shared future. The UK City of culture bid should help decide which it really is. Outwardly, the Jerusalem of Ulster where I grew up over half century ago has survived far better than I could have hoped. The physical layout is still the perfect metaphor for Northern Ireland’s sectarian divide. Proud citadel towers over huddled masses in an area below obligingly called the Bogside. …

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Derry Essay Series…

As a foil (pun intended) to the reductive scrapping of the election campaigns, we’re running an essay series focused on Derry (or if you insist, Londonderry). The news hook is the city’s UK of culture bid which will be submitted in the third week of May, I think. But our aim is not to underwrite the big, so much as to find as many different (and differing) voices to describe the problem by exploring the Derry experience(s) through a number …

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