Bloody Sunday hankie on history-defining list

editorial image

A handkerchief waved by a young Fr Edward Daly (now Bishop Daly) as Bloody Sunday’s first fatality was carried away from the gun fire has been named on a list of 100 objects that define Irish history.

Raghnall O Floinn, Head of Collections at the National Museum of Ireland, who collaborated with The Royal Irish Academy and The Irish Times on the ‘A History of Ireland in 100 Objects’ project, said the waving of the blood stained hankie as 17 year-old Jackie Duddy was carried away, remains one of the “iconic moments” of the nation’s history.

“In many ways a handkerchief can be seen as a relatively innocuous object, but this is a hankie that has come to mean so much more because of the context in which it came to prominence.

“It has become such a powerful object because of the way it triggers people’s memories of and emotions around the events and of the footage from forty years ago,” he said.

Bishop Daly’s hankie is now on display in the Museum of Free Derry. It had for many years been in the hands of the Duddy family after it was returned to Jackie’s father, Willie Duddy when it was returned from the hospital among his son’s belongings.

The delicate fabric still bears its tiny, neat label saying ‘Fr. Daly’.

‘A History of Ireland in 100 Objects’ , the brainchild of journalist Fintan O’Toole, also includes the Broighter Gold - the “most magnificent hoard of Celtic period gold objects to have been found in Ireland.”

It was unearthed by Tom Nicholl while ploughing on farmland in Limavady in 1896 and is currently housed in the National Museum in Dublin.

‘A History of Ireland in 100 Objects’, chosen by public vote, is currently available as a book and as an app. It was launched on St Patrick’s Day as a gift to Ireland and marks the country’s EU Presidency.

Since Monday the app has been downloaded around 22,0000 times.