A new book detailing Derry’s connections with both the Somme and the Easter Rising has been launched in the city.
Derry historian, tour operator and local Sinn Fein Councillor Mickey Cooper launched his new publication at the Gasyard Centre recently following painstaking research.
Mr Cooper, proprietor at DerryBlueBadgeGuide.com, devised the ‘Derry 1916 Somme and Rising Revisited’. project with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, National Lottery, Housing Executive, Triax, the Gasyard Development Trust and Derry Peace Wall Project.
It is the latest in a series of publications which focus on the Triax areas of the city.
Mr Cooper said: “With the Somme, we had all those names on the War Memorial, but there were a number of other names that were not inscribed on it, and Trevor Temple provided a lot of information to fill those gaps.
“There are names from the Bogside, Brandywell, Bishop Street, unionist and nationalist people. There’s a fellow who played for Man United among them. There were more names than I would have envisioned.”
In terms of the Easter Rising and its aftermath,Mr Cooper detailed how Republican Eoin MacNeill, later MP for Derry in the first Dail of 1919, was involved in the Easter Rising and founded the Irish volunteers. “As a Sinn Fein councillor it’s interesting that we have an MP now elected for the first time since Eoin O’Neill,” Mr Cooper said.
There were also IRB figures locally going back to the 1860s, and a lot of activity going on underground during the Rising, with local people active on both sides at the time, and in the decades that followed.
The exhibition which formed part of the project is still available for any group wishing to host it.
The book, priced £5, is available from the Tourist Office, Museum of Free Derry, and Gasyard Centre. All profits will go back into the Gasyard Trust. For more visit: www.derrybluebadgeguide.com/about/michael-coopers-books/