‘Derry Boys’ documentary to mark 25th anniversary of Good Friday Agreement

A documentary focusing on two young Derry boys who travelled to Holland in the 1970s will be aired on BBC Radio 4 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
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Derry Boys’ is a thought-provoking radio documentary describing how Patrick O’Doherty and Raymond Hamilton crossed community divisions at the height of the Troubles to become lifelong friends.

The half hour programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, April 3 at 11am.

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Produced and narrated by documentary maker Proinsias Ó Coinn and commissioned by Hugh Levinson, it features Patrick and Raymond Hamilton as they reflect on an invitation which transformed their lives and perspectives.

Patrick O'Doherty and Raymond HamiltonPatrick O'Doherty and Raymond Hamilton
Patrick O'Doherty and Raymond Hamilton

Through unearthed audio recordings of the boys from the 1970s, listeners can listen to the journey of Patrick and Raymond, as they leave behind their segregated communities in Derry to travel to Holland at the tender ages of 10 and 11.

Over 30 minutes Patrick and Raymond, now almost 60, reunite in their home city to listen to the tapes – full of joy, laughter and curiosity – to reflect on how it changed them for ever.

The broadcast coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

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Mr. Ó Coinn said: “I came across Patrick and Raymond’s story when I was making another radio documentary in Holland.

"In a serendipitous trilogy of tales, my search for a piece of art led to an email from a stranger which introduced me to this story of triumph over adversity. Through geography, history and circumstance, these were schoolboys who were never meant to be friends.

"One trip changed all that. Years later, this is a fascinating insight into how opening doors can open minds. We defy the odds when we choose hope not hate.”

Raymond describes ‘going from a world of black and white to a world of colour’ when he arrived in Holland and ‘the ripple effect’ of kind strangers opening their homes to children like him from across the religious divide.

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Patrick looks back to that time in the 70s. Although many people where he lived ‘had never even met a Protestant’ – he had ‘and he was no different’.

‘Derry Boys’ will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday April 3 at 11am and repeated on Wednesday, April 12 at 8.30pm.