Derry’s last remaining Peace Wall has become one of city’s latest tourist attractions following the erection of a series of murals.
The photographic murals depicting scenes from Derry’s past have been unveiled periodically over the past six months.
The initiative is the brainchild of the Peace Walls Project and Gasyard Development Trust.
Project workers Mickey Cooper, Donna McCloskey, Sophie Blake-Gallagher, Kyle Thompson, Donna Hutton and Rachel Mullan said the rationale for the project and several other schemes which have been run out over the last few years. In a statement the group said: “Both the Peace Walls project and Gasyard Trust have worked together for a number of years to improve relations and encourage increased contact between the residents of both the Fountain and Bishop Street.
“As part of this work we identified local heritage and tourism as an area which could be exploited to both increase visitor numbers and spend in both areas, and also to improve the look of some of the area’s landmarks, including the peace wall itself.
“As a result we have worked with Guildhall Press and the Cathedral Youth Club to design the panels on the wall which show local landmarks, chronicle the history of the local area and also show some of the streets which were located in the area before the construction of the peace wall.”
The latest section at Upper Bennett Street was installed in the last few weeks.
The group said that ultimately they “would hope that residents can agree to take down the wall and replace it with new structures including shops, training and education facilities which, like the shops and hospitality venues of the past, would be used by both communities”.
“In the meantime,” they added, “we are delighted that the peace wall has now become a tourist attraction in its own right as a result of the installation of the panels.”
The tunnel entrance to the Fountain at Bishops Gate has also been revamped, with signage installed across the region directing visitors to places of interest.
Mr Cooper has also written a book about the shared history of both areas, which is sold through a number of outlets the city with all profits going towards the new projects. The tourist app is available to download at the website: www.visitbishopstreetandthefountain.com.
The projects have received funding from IFI, Dept. of Justice, Housing Executive, Heritage Lottery Fund and Derry & Strabane Council.