A day in Londonderry (Derry)

April 2003

My parents visited me in Belfast during the 2003 Easter Holiday. They stayed for a week in Belfast and had a very special experience, according to themselves. Belfast, Londonderry and Northern Ireland was just recovering from a 30 years long civil war. The so called The Troubles. This civil war was pretty horrific and every family in Northern Ireland was affected. I have written more about this at my own Belfast tribute page. One of the atrocities was the Bloody Sunday massacre in Londonderry. I had been in Londonderry many times and I wanted to take my parents over to Londonderry by train from Belfast and then the bus over Omagh again back to Belfast. The train took around two and a half hours and the bus around three hours home again. The tour itself was through some of the best of Northern Ireland. Lush, wonderful landscape. It is a tragedy that this area was so ravaged by this civil war. The stupidity of the mankind knows no boundaries.

All pictures taken by my mother Svanhild

We took the train from Belfast an early morning. The Derry train line first followed Belfast Lough for some miles before it went over the hill to Antrim. The train then went along farmlands to Ballymena.

The farmlands between Antrim and Ballymena

The train continued down a valley and more farmlands to Coleraine. Just some hundred meters past Coleraine, the train-line arrived at The Atlantic Ocean and followed the coastline up to the end of the line at Londonderry.

We disembarked and followed the bridge over River Foyle to the city centre of Londonderry. We went up to the castle and had a overlook over this incredible city. We spent three hours in Londonderry.

What can I say about Londonderry ? It is one of the most incredible cities in Europe. It's streets are soaked in both blood and history. It is a very historic town, with big walls and fortifications. It was one of Great Britain's most important ports, facing directly out to The Atlantic Ocean as it is. No other city in Great Britain has the same history and strategic importance as this city. It has been besieged and this city has seen many atrocities. Londonderry is also a very beautiful, friendly city. It is one of the places I would be happy to live and work in. But there is no denying it; it is a very strange place.
The final pictures is from the city walls in Londonderry. Those says everything about the place.

The friendship and peace monument just after crossing the bridge

A police station in Londonderry. Please note the anti- rocket and mortar defences

A part of the city wall and an Army observation post

The Bogside estate, the scene of the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972

The Foyle area where intense fighting between the army and the nationalists took place in the 1970s

We left Londonderry at the bus back to Belfast again that afternoon. My parents was pretty shocked about the recent history of this place. It is a shocking history, by all standards. It is a story need to be told.

I recommend Londonderry to anyone as one of the most special cities in Europe.