We have picked a gorgeous day to arrive in Derry/Londonderry, just to be politically correct, like the train announcers.
There was a kind of regatta taking place on the river, which flows next to our hotel. We are just down from the Peace Bridge connecting the two communities, the Peace Flame commemorating the peace accord, and not far from the Peace Wall separating the two communities, which should tell you that the story of Derry (that’s the name I’m sticking with) is just like that of Belfast.
The difference so far is that this town is prettier, to be shallow about it. Its Georgian remnants give it a air of refinement that we didn’t see in Belfast. I fear we will find out that the reason it Derry was so heavily fortified by British troops after The Troubles began on Bloody Sunday in 1972.
Derry is the only remaining completely intact walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe. There are seven gates to the city, and the English Protestants lived “within,” to be protected from the Irish insurgents who – for some reason – resisted the idea of the British “plantation” system, whereby England moved people into various areas to create a stronghold against the Irish. (This is a system that was effective for centuries, on multiple continents!) The last two pictures are of Bishop’s Gate today and during The Troubles, just to make the point.
We’ll be better informed tomorrow, but for today, we were just grateful to walk in the sunshine and look at the pretty scenery.
Don’s Food Corner
We’ve been so good by eating only traditional, classic British/Irish meals for nearly three weeks. But enough is enough, so today we headed to an Indian restaurant.
We had a nice array of starters, chicken, vegetable and onion fritters – and vodka cocktails. Then we shared chicken Korma and a nice portion of naan.
A very welcome change of pace, exploring another part of the Empire.