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Ireland. Day two. This time actually on the island

So. We arrived in Derry.

Here you find the story of how we got there.

Due to some circumstances we slept the first night in Valentina’s flatmate’s room. The flatmate decided not to move in until we were gone. Wise move.

The room had the nice and vibrant color pink on every wall.

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We slept quite well mostly because we got a nice and large duvet from Valentina.

The next morning we were ready to explore the vast and interesting city of Derry. Valentina was cleaning the kitchen as the previous tenants of the house left it covered in sticky goo. Did I mention she just moved in there a few days before us?

After the promised “only 20 minutes” turned out to be more than an hour, Doro joined in cleaning the fridge to avoid waiting another 2 hours. Nothing says holidays as cleaning a fridge that has never been cleaned before. Only 2 hours later than expected we opened the front door to leave.

This is what Derry looked like.

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Despite the horrible look from the pictures I kind of liked the look of the town. The one above is the main playground for the kids. We met children from 8 to 12 years from 8 to 12 pm there. The area we stayed is called the bogside or just the bog. It is the area of the working class people and has nowadays the highest unemployment rates of the whole city. It reminded me of all these movies about working class people, mostly in scotland, but apparently it looks similar in Northern Ireland.

Some of the photos might look a bit overdramatic. I listened and listen to the smashing pumpkins tonight.

As you might or might not know, Derry was the location of the Bloody Sunday shootings when the british occupying forces shot 26 unarmed civilians and wounded many others. This event is covered by the Derry murals that depict several scenes from this day and others. Although they are not that well executed technically it is still impressing how present the events are in the town. More on that later.

Some random inner city shots.

Derry is famous for its wall, also called the “Maiden City” as it was never penetrated by foreign forces. The wall still stands and circles the inner city which is on a hill, facing the river foyle on one side and the bogside on the other. In the inner city the people of Derry decided to put the most atrocious post-war modern architecture.

And obviously they don’t know how to place ATM machines.

At least the King didn’t make it. Probably the only royal ever permanently chased from the city.

We toured the city on the wall and had some views on the town, but honestly, everything the town has to offer can be seen in an afternoon, the most interesting things being the bus and the train station as they provide fast escape routes from the city into the beautiful countryside around.

The area in the kind of valley is the bogside where we stayed.

This is the loyalist quarter in the inner city. Note how the sidewalks are painted in the union jack’s colors to clearly mark the royalist territory. The sign says:

LONDONDERRY

West Bank Loyalists

Still Under Siege

NO SURRENDER

And to make the point even more clear the lovely royalist people burn every year a huge pile of wood and some Irish republican flags. The republicans respond by marches through the city, resulting in violence every year. Already the name of the city “Derry/Londonderry” shows the division of the city’s population. The loyalists keep their tight bounds with the british royalty while the Republicans avoid to mention the enemy’s capital.

Throughout the country you see whole streets that either have all the Union Jack or the Republican flag attached to lamp posts, houses and sidewalks.

The IRA is no more but their acronym can be found all over the bog side. Freedom fighters for the one side and terrorists for the other.

We then went home, it was night by the time. We waited on several occasions for a long time on our host and therefore spent far more time in the city than necessary.

We had dinner and went out again for an evening walk. More on that later. Probably more photos than words next time.