Our first day in Derry
Sun 24 Jul 2022 10:46
The five arched hotel is where Amelia Earhart was invited to a reception in her honour after her record breaking solo flight across across the Atlantic from Newfoundland in May 1932. She landed in Farmer Robert Gallagher's cow pasture in nearby Ballyarnott, the present day location of the 14th hole of Foyle Golf Centre, also known as 'Heart Attack Hill', a challenging landing site by all accounts.
The Derry walls were built between 1613 and 1619 to protect the Protestant planters who moved to Derry during the Plantation of Ulster Scheme established under James I, and there were originally four gates through the walls; Bishop's Gate, Ship Quay Gate, Ferry Quay Gate and Butcher's Gate. Our audio tour started at one of the three new gates, Magazine Gate. The population is now around 69% Catholic.
You may recognize Anthony Gormley's statue outside the Civic Centre since I hugged one of his self-modelled naked statues in the sand at Liverpool and we also came across him in Stavanger. If you remember those pics you deserve a medal, or a pint of Guinness.
How many of you have enjoyed the hit TV series about 16 years olds Erin, Orla, Michelle, Clare, Jenny and James? We viewed the fabulous Derry Girls mural from the New Gate Bastion and the link between historic battles, the Siege, The Troubles and Irish humour was not lost on me. A bastion is built out from city walls to give two sides of the defenses for the mounting and firing of cannons. But here their peacetime purpose is to give a better view of the mural, isn't it?!
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