Free Derry, Bloody Sunday

6 Nov

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel with my class to Northern Ireland and explore Belfast and Derry. Derry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland. It has played a distinct role in the transition of Ireland and in the movement towards independence. When Ireland was partitioned during the conflict between the North and South, Derry became a border city, lying between the two regions. Because of this, it often endured conflict and uprising. One of the most significant days in the history of Derry is known as Bloody Sunday. In response to the discrimination against Catholics amongst other issues, groups began non-violent demonstrations. In 1971, internment without trial was introduced simultaneously as all marches and demonstrations were banned. On January 30, 1972, approximately ten thousand protesters gathered in Derry for a march for civil rights. However, the British army has barricaded the original route so protesters were forced to make there way towards what is known as the “Free Derry Corner”.

 In an organized and at the time not allowed march, a group of teenagers broke off with the intent to push past a British barricade and march on the Guildhill, which was forbidden. The British army fired hundreds of rounds at fleeing citizens and protesters.  Troops from the 1st Parachute Regiment of the British Army shot twenty-six protesters and other individuals. Both national and international reaction followed the horror. The Stormont government was dismissed after the events.  The British army maintained its position that the troops fired in reaction to violence from protesters. The Saville Bloody Sunday Inquiry found that all of the individuals who were shot were unarmed and that the shootings were unnecessary and reckless. This day proved significance because it was one of the most tragic and horrific days of conflict, with many innocent dying in the process. In addition, the actions, “strengthened the provisional IRA, increased nationalist hostility and resentment towards the army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed” (video). The following video gives a synopsis and detailed account of what happened on that day:

“Archive: Bloody Sunday.” BBC News. BBC, 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.

“Bloody Sunday 1972.” N.p., 27 Oct. 2013. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

“History – Bloody Sunday – Reaction to Events.” History – Bloody          Sunday – Reaction to Events. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.


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