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Don’t be misled by the mural to the right of the entrance of the museum which clearly relates to the Palestinian struggle. While the people of the Bogside and most particularly civil rights activists have associated themselves with left wing, socialist struggles across the world including those in Palestine and Cuba (see picture below – noting that the Lynch relates to Che’s Irish ancestry) this museum is very focused, and bluntly so, on the history of Bogside and its immediate neighbouring areas in the second half of the 20th century with a particular focus on civil rights era of the 1960s and the Free Derry/early Troubles era of the 1970s.79

The message portrayed, within the museum, is that of the Bogside people so by its very nature it will appear slanted and biased to many. This is not a failure of the museum – the message portrayed is the story of the people. Here you will find the community’s story told from the community’s perspective. Whether one agrees with it or not doesn’t take from the fact that the events, peoples recollections of those events and the feelings portrayed here were (and indeed are) very real to the people who lived in this area during its most troubled recent history.

The museum has an archive of over 25,000 individual items relating to this part of the city’s history, mostly donated by the local people. While much of the collection is of documents and multi-media displays including some excellent Bloody Sunday video footage it also include items such as clothes, complete with bullet holes, belonging to the victims of Bloody Sunday, the handkerchief waved by Fr Daly on Bloody Sunday (as seen on the Bloody Sunday mural outside and on TV screens across the world at the time) and, of particular note, the original photographs which inspired the People’s Gallery murals located in Rossville Street just outside the museum.

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The museum is housed in some former flats at the southern end of Glenfada Park right in the middle of the area to which it relates. The 1969 Battle of the Bogside and the events of Bloody Sunday 1972 and Operation Motorman took place within metres of the museum. The building carries, on the extreme right hand side in the rough patch of wall, two bullet holes – the last remaining evidence of Bloody Sunday in the area. You can see one of the bullet holes in my third picture – on the right – the other one is lower down and out of this shot. Being where it is, from a tourist perspective the museum is located amidst all the attractions of the area.

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I’m not sure what to make of the Picasso inspired mural on the front wall of the museum – “Iraqnica”, which applies Picasso’s “Guernica” style to the occupation of Iraq (picture 2).

Certainly worth a visit as it puts the whole area into context – Especially useful if you are not across the history of the area, but I do encourage wider reading for alternative angles on the subject matter.

(2015)
Opening hours

Mon-Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm (All year),
Sat 1.00pm – 4.00pm (April – Sept), Sun 1.00pm – 4.00pm (July – Sept)

Adminssion fee:
Adult £3.00, Concessionary / Group (10+) £2.00pp

Address: 55-61 Glenfada Park
Directions: Off Rossville Street in the Bogside
Phone: +28 7136 0880
Website: http://www.museumoffreederry.org/


This entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on many trips to Londonderry/Derry. I suggest you continue with my next entry – The People’s Gallery – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – The City on the Foyle.


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One thought on “The Museum of Free Derry

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