In choosing a feature picture for my introductory Derry review I choose a picture of this sculpture (the one above) as it is a memorial to nothing, a commemoration of nothing but rather a work that sides with nobody and asks one to look forward to the future with hope and high expectation.
Let me tell you a little more about this sculpture here.
As you cross the Craigavon Bridge to enter the city, the first thing you see is the Hands Across the Divide monument. This bronze sculpture, by local sculptor, Maurice Harron, of two men reaching out to each other symbolises the spirit of reconciliation and hope for the future. The sculpture was unveiled in 1992, 20 years after Bloody Sunday.
The two men represent the two communities (unionist and republican), with outstretched hands across a deep dividing trench. The most striking, and indeed sad, feature of the sculpture for me is that they are not in fact holding hands but rather, just almost touching. It is said that once local people are happy that the “troubles” are fully over the sculpture can be rearranged so that the hands finally touch.
While on my most recent visit to the city I sensed an air of hope and a sense of ease that I have never felt before in this city, I am a realist – sores (especially deep and festering ones) take time to cure.
In a Daily Telegraph (UK) article on 11 March 2013, Rupert Christiansen, I feel, summed up the situation very well when he wrote:
“…however much everyone officially tries to move on in a spirit of amity, this is a city where everyone walks on eggshells. The elephant in the room is that three centuries of persecution, oppression, injustice, bloodshed and hatred can’t be swept away by anything so fragile as a decade or so of a “peace process”. ”
I do hope next time I visit, or when you visit, the two men will be holding hands.
Address: Carlisle Square, West end of the Craigavon Bridge
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 Riverwatch Aquarium and a Dugout Canoe – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – The City on the Foyle.