A programme of events to commemorate and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bogside was launched in Derry yesterday.
The commemoration will include a two-day open air Fleadh on Friday August 16 and Saturday August 17, at Free Derry Corner. The mini-festival will feature traditional and folk music acts, and will follow the Festival of Fire on August 15, which will run at Free Derry Corner and Fahan Street this year.
During ther Battle of the Bogside the clashes began about 2.30pm in the afternoon of 12 August during the annual march of the Apprentice Boys to celebrate the lifting of the siege – the ‘Relief of Derry’ – 280 years earlier.
The aniversary programme gets under way this Thursday, August 1, with a photographic exhibition entitled ‘Lost Childhood?’ at the Museum of Free Derry.
Using recently emerged photographs taken by French photographer Gerard Harlay in April and May 1972, the display will highlight the experiences of children during the early years of the conflict. Admission is free.
The main hall in the Guildhall meanwhile will host ‘Free Derry Lives’ from Monday, August 5 to Thursday, August 8.
Visitors will be given the chance to walk among silhouettes of the past and see and hear various stories of people, places and incidents unique to Free Derry and the civil rights era of 1968-1972. Admission is free.
An open air Battle of the Bogside exhibition will be staged in Rossville Street from Thursday, August 8. Curated by the Museum of Free Derry, this exhibition tells the story of the defence of the Bogside in August 1969 through a selection of photographs taken during those few days. The exhibition will be sited on the fence at Pilots Row, in the area where the battle took place.
The same day will see the main hall in the Guildhall host ‘Battle of the Bogside - Connections’ from 7pm, admission free. During this event a panel of guests will explore the significance of Battle of the Bogside, and its place among the international civil rights struggles of the time. Guests from Derry, Belfast and Detroit will recall the events of 1969 and their importance.
On Friday, August 9, the Museum of Free Derry will showcase a script in hand reading of a new play, ‘200 Yards’ at 7pm. Written by Micheal Kerrigan and produced by Anne Crilly, the play inspired by Micheal’s experiences growing up in the Bogside during its most tumultuous years.
On Sunday, August 11 the Museum of Free Derry will host ‘Patrick Rooney: Lost Childhood’ at 7pm, which centres on nine-year-old Patrick Rooney, who was shot and killed by machine gun fire from an RUC armoured car – the bullets penetrating the walls of his Divis Flat home. Fifty years after Patrick’s death, his brother Con shares their story with Derry audiences in an event hosted by Irish Times Northern Ireland Correspondent, Freya McClements. Admission free.
The Museum will also host an event honing in on Unionism at 1pm on Tuesday, August 13, followed the same evening by the launch of Clive Limpkin’s Battle of Bogside 50th Edition book at the same venue at 7pm. The Museum of Free Derry and Guildhall Press have announced the re-publication of Clive Limpkin’s iconic book featuring many newly discovered images. The publication marks 50 years since his arrival in Derry in August 1969, in time to photograph the momentous events of that month. Clive Limpkin is returning to the city to share his experiences of documenting the conflict. Admission free.
Vinny Cunningham’s acclaimed 2004 film, ‘Battle of the Bogside’, written by John Peto and featuring many local people who played a part in these historic events, will be screened on Wednesday, August 14 at Museum of Free Derry, 7pm. Admission free.
Finally, on Friday, August 16 musician Damien Dempsey will hold a performance to mark the anniversary at Sandinos, Foyle Street. Tickets are available from Cool Discs, Foyle Street.