Monday, June 26, 2017

Museum of Free Derry and "The Troubles"

While visiting Derry, our group took some time out of our busy schedule to visit the Museum of Free Derry. The purpose of the museum is to tell the story of what happened in the city during the period 1968- 1972, popularly known as ‘the troubles’.
Glenfada Park in disrepair 2005
 The Museum began as a block of flats in Glenfada Park which was the site of many murders during Bloody Sunday in 1972. The building fell into disrepair and was later saved by the Bloody Sunday Trust.
Phase 1 2006

The museum opened in 2007 (phase 1), but was later reconstructed and reopened in early 2017 (phase 2)
Phase 2 2017
The newly constructed building is almost twice the size of the previous museum, and holds 20,000 artefacts. The new building also offers space for exhibitions and a class room.
 The museum and its contents are a representation of the struggles the oppressed people of Derry faced. Throughout this time, young Irish people questioned their identity as an Irish person and were faced with the harsh reality that they are in fact looked down on.

like many Irish characters we have read about in class, they didn't simply dismiss their Irish heritage when faced with opposition, they embraced it and fought to keep their culture alive. One thing that has become evident throughout history is, the Irish will never give up and will continue to fight for freedom.
Photo taken on-site
The Troubles
"The Troubles" are characterized as the civil rights era, Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Bloody Sunday and Operation Motorman.
One event highlighted by the Museum of Free Derry was Bloody Sunday. On January 30th 1972, a march was organized by the NICRA against the Internment and the ban on marches by the government. The march was organized to be a peaceful march through Derry, but things did not go as planned.

Although the IRA promised to stay away in order to keep the peace, British soldiers put up barricades to prevent the march from entering the city center square, and a little over an hour after the march began, 13 innocent men had died.

The British Army labeled the men they killed as 'bombers' and reported that the young men were armed, but it was later found that all men killed were unarmed civilians.

Bloody Sunday has become a source of international inspiration for the people of Northern Ireland and continues to be an event with great significance in the community. There are murals and monuments commemorating the events taken place that day to remind the people of the history they share and the lives they have lost in order to secure freedom.
If you are ever in Northern Ireland I encourage you to visit the Museum of Free Derry!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the Bloody Sunday Museum! I would have to say that this is the most heartbreaking event that happened during 'The Troubles'. The museum made it so much more realistic to me! I thought it was shocking that people that worked there had been affected by the massacre. I didn't realize that the people who were shot were seen as a threat. I really enjoyed the video at the end that proved the victims to be innocent.

    I think Derry was really eye opening to the struggle of the troubles. I enjoyed seeing the painting on the building of the struggles they went through. I also thought it was really interesting that during one of our lectures, the professor said that hey are still going through some of these struggles. I think it wa really important to highlight this event in the trip!