Mickey’s ‘labour of love’ details history of the Bogside

Mickey Cooper
Mickey Cooper

A new book detailing the early years of the Bogside, Brandywell and Lower Bishop Street is now available to buy in some outlets in Derry. But you might have to act fast to get one!

The book, titled ‘From Columba to Conflict’ was compiled by Gasyard Development Trust worker, Mickey Cooper.

“It was a real labour of love for me. I am delighted with the finished product,” said Mickey.

The ‘From Columba to Conflict’ project started last year. Although it was always the sole aim of the initiative to produce a book, Mickey has also been helping to introduce the story of the area to local school children.

“Only 500 copies of the book have been published so I’d encourage anyone looking for one to go out and buy one soon as they’ll probably sell out quick,” he said.

With the recent success of ‘The Prison Story’ book, it’s the second work to be compiled by Mickey Cooper and the Gasyard Heritage Centre inside the last 12 months.

The book deals with specific periods of the area’s history.

It starts with a chapter on the archaeology of the Bogside and Brandywell and follows on with chapters on local churches and religious sites, with a section on the Plantation and its impact on the Bogside.

The book also has chapters on the migration to and from the Bogside since 17th century, sporting memories and interviews with local residents both past and present.

Meanwhile, Mickey is currently working on an E- funded project to do with the Peace Process in the North of Ireland.

The project is titled ‘Your Process or Mine’ and in the last few weeks it has brought together young people from nationalist/republican and unionist/loyalist backgrounds to learn about the Troubles.

It’s anticipated that those involved in the ‘Your Process or Mine’ will produce a short film on their interpretation of the Peace Process and a book will be produced to document their work.

“I suppose you could say that it’s the final piece in the jig-saw,” said Mickey. “We had the prison story first and now we have the Columba to Conflict story so hopefully the Peace Process project will be the finished trilogy.”

‘From Columba to Conflict’ is priced at £6 and is available to buy at the Museum of Free Derry, the Tourist Office, the Gasyard Centre and Bedlam Market. The project was funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.