Saturday, 25 June 2011

Peace to bridge the Foyle

As a son of (at least) four generations of City of Derry* today marks an auspicious day for the City.

Since they have had the statue Hands Across the Divide two hands out stretched and not quite touching.

Hands Across the Divide (1992) Maurice Harron
Now from today there is the Peace Bridge. As one of those from Protestant descent whose direct family lived for as long as they could on the predominantly Nationalist west side (renamed from the Cityside in recent BBC coverage), though with lots of family on the east side (again renamed from the Waterside) I'm used to being on both sides of the City. But for many in the city they have never crossed to the other side of their city. There is less need to these days. Apart from maybe shopping which is in an area just across from the Bridge on the Cityside there is little need to venture further for most people.

Very few Protestants I guess will have walked through the Bogside area and taken in the murals of the Bogside Artists in the Poeple's Gallery. Very few from the Cityside will have ventured over to the Waterside Theatre. For the City of Culture 2013 surely it is time to embrace each others culture, or at least to not be afraid of being in each others presence.

The One Show had a sneak peak of the Bridge during the week and sent one person from each community across the bridge to meet in the middle. I happened to like that item a lot as my Dad's cousin George Glenn was one of the two people they interviewed and used for the meeting.

I for one hope that the Peace Bridge is sign of a shared future and that people will start to mingle in Londonderry again. The River Foyle for too long has been a divide (there are tiny exceptions). The City has changed a lot in its attitude and outlook. Here's to a bridge to a shared future.

*And I'm using the term as written on the family's 1901 and 1911 census returns.

No comments:

Post a Comment