Sunday, June 28, 2015

Donegal Castle, lreland

We stopped at the Harbour Restaurant for dinner.  The clam chowder was excellent.  We loved the atmosphere and service.  Then we both had pizza.  Laura had a cheese and I had fish.  Now mine was a bit unusual, anchovy, shrimp etc but boy was it tasty.  Thin crust but ‘fish’. I’ve never had it before, usually settling for pepperoni but this was an experience and a very positive one indeed.

We then walked over to see Donegal Castle.  It was locked for the night so we couldn’t go it.  It was a lovely little drafty but well defended home for royalty beside a fast running stream.  It was evening and the shops were closed. This was God’s way of protecting us because Donegal Wool is famous and certainly i’d not resisted buying another sweater for sure.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Carrymore Megalithic Graveyards and Virgins, Ireland

We came across the sign for these leaving Sligo on the way to Galway. They were only 15 minutes off the main road.  I was really glad we made the effort to see them.  Nothing so humbling as to walk among the stones of prehistoric man, laid out 3500 BC.
It was raining while we walked about the field.  It really made us  feel like we were in Ireland.  We’d consistently had sunshine.  Yet the locals said, and the glorious green of grass spoke of the constant rain through winter and this time of year in spring.  Now we were truly experiencing the drizzle I remembered from London.  Not a downpour like one gets on the West Coast of Canada but this pleasant wet rain with a hefty breeze.  The sheep with lanolin in their fur were perfectly adapted to this.  It was the weather I’d read about in James Joyce. And here we were walking over the ‘moors’.  I think moors is a Scottish term but it felt like that.
We had a map from the central office of the Carrymore Megalithic site which we’d got when we paid admission. It told us that a pile of rocks which we’d have thought nothing of was indeed a grave and with the map we could see what they meant. Like when a person points out a dog or a face in a cloud formation. There was that aha moment then.  Which was fun in itself. The big structures were obviously self evident. And quite uncanny.  Making the whole idea of space ships and aliens visiting thousands of years ago seem more  reasonable as an explanation than ancestral gravesides. Not that Laura and I had anything against graveyards.  We were becoming graveyard connoisseurs with our various adventures in ancestry.
By any standard this was a most splendid graveyard, if it was a graveyard.  It might have been  a bunch of rocks in a circle with a fire and a Monty Python Flintsone character in the raised bit in the middle doing jokes,  beating on skins, or haranguing the tribe that the world was going to end,  or climate was going to change. Alternatively maybe people decided to clear a field for a dance or crops and decided to pile all the stones in the centre just for the fun of it.  Thousands of PHD thesis had been written about this very idea or some thing similar. There were academic factions who thought it was part of a Stone Henge franchise.  Mostly since agriculture and planting times were so important it was thought to be a big calendar astronomically oriented to the stars, because prehistoric folk were poor and couldn’t afford iPhone calendars.  Academic food fights broke out routinely in university cafeterias between competing factions.
Alternatively some really short smart guy who wanted to be taller than everyone else, because he’d been bullied as a child, somehow convinced everyone to make him a pedestal. Maybe he  scared them and said  that the dinosaurs were extinct and the mammoths had moved on because they masturbated. He was probably telling them to stay away from the sheep too. Don’t eat bacon.  Don’t wear lipstick.  Don’t paint their bodies blue like the Scots. Irish don’t do that sort of thing.
In the biggest mound they had an inner circle with a rock table. The priests probably had a party there and after  they sacrificed virgins, ate them, or got into necrophilia.   Pre Christian pagan priests got up to whatever they wanted to because there wasn’t any ‘oversight’.  Whistle blowers were still at the bag pipe stage.   There’s little known a bout the Druids except they did have sacrifices like the Mayans.  For all the bad press Christians and Jews get they stopped child sacrifice.
That the  map said this was where some King was laid to rest could be just a way for this heritage site to keep  from getting a restricted ‘adult’ rating.  They probably aren’t telling you everything they know.    No one really knows why the Druids were so secretive. Transparency still isn’t popular with the leadership.
Laura and I had a bit of laughter walking about in the rain looking at the rocks.  There was obviously  a bit of awe thrown in.  Maybe that’s why I was joking.  Laura and I were laughing. But the place was kind of spooky  too.  The place could give one that feeling someone was watching.  Whoever or whatever they were,  they’d  been doing it for a very long time.
Eventually Laura and I stood silent in this sacred place.  
DSCN0136DSCN0129DSCN0134DSCN0137DSCN0138DSCN0139DSCN0144DSCN0146DSCN0147DSCN0149DSCN0155DSCN0161IMG 9693

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mura Cross and Fahan, Ireland

In Londonderry Laura and I came across the most exquisite little jewelry store ever.  My friend, Ganesh Nanda, has the finest gold jewelry store in the world, Nanda Jewellers in Vancouver, Canada.   I believe even he would like this Jewelry store.
Ganesh had sold me my 24 carat gold chain.  Being a survivalist of sorts I thought it a good idea to have some portable species.  I feared societal disruption and understood how people in crazy times sewed a few diamonds in their clothing just in case.  I’d been feeling unsettled by personal and world events when I walked into Ganesh’s lovely store and bought that gold chain that day..
We’d talked about the day his store was broken into by armed robbers and he was held at gun point. I’d asked him if it still bothered him at times and he’d told me it did.  He’d put in a special set of security doors at his store that required people to be buzzed in through both doors now. He’d had only one door security system before.  The armed robbers when they were eventually caught were a gang that flew from city to city robbing gold jewellers at gunpoint.
Ganesh had the robbery on video.  He’d spoken up and taken the attention of the armed men off his staff and onto himself.  They’d pushed his head down on the counter and put the gun to his head. It had been frightening to watch.  Yet he’d been so courageous. Heroic, really.  He told me later that all he cared about at the time were his lovely wife, Anita and his fine son and daughter.
I was talking to him again that day getting a new gold chain because in Athens a dozen young Moslem men had surrounded me. They ripped the gold chain I was wearing under my shirt from around my neck, taking the gold Celtic Cross I wore.  When they were trying to push me onto the ground I’d picked up the broken chain and run, elbowing one out of the way. I joke that at my age I’m still a better martial artist than Bruce Lee at ‘retreat’.  When faced with an ambush, and overwhelming odds, retreat is the right choice. And I had chosen it with great alacrity as the young men called me “Infidel” laughing and mocking me as they ran behind me.  I last saw them swaggering away in the distance passing around my gold Celtic Cross.
To say I was disturbed is an understatement.  I was frankly paranoid that night in my hotel room. In the morning I was able to speak with others and feel better.  Of couse we all knew that they were just lowlife criminals who stole the cross for the gold.  Young men who know no god themselves,  justifed their low life avarice with the cry “infidel”. A good Moslem mother would spank their bare baby bottoms for stealing under any guise.   Unfortunately given the statistics for ’snatch and grab’ assaults, they were likely drug addicts.
My Greek friends were enraged, not just for me, but because tourism was the life blood of their community.  They thought these men by my description must be refugees from Afghanistan as there had been other tourist attacks and stealing of gold crosses from Christians. The attack had occurred in a fine district at dinner time, before dusk, with hundreds about and a police station a couple of city blocks away.  I’d not gone to the police at the time, being paranoid as it were after the attack, and having heard of some countries where reporting robbery to the police just resulted in the police robbing the person of whatever they had left.
Materialists today just think in terms of money and ‘insurance’. Lacking heart and not knowing their souls, they do not appreciate the sentimental, intrinsic finer worth of things.  We imbue the inanimate world around us with the love, or hate or fear we feel.   Long after a death we are touched by the mere picture of a loved one.  Memories are carried in objects as much as they are in the written word.  Civilization is an upward development from animals like my attackers to a loving creative family man like Ganesh who helps employ others, pays taxes and gives to charity.
The gold Celtic Cross had a personal meaning beyond it representing the religious Anglican Christian faith I was baptized in.  It symbolized my Celtic ancestry as well as being a simply beautiful piece of fine gold art. I’d seen it one day in passing at a Celtic store in Vancouver. I was down and out at the time, out of work, going through a divorce. and frankly wondering if I’d ever work again. I’d had to accept charity from friends and the church because at the time my ex wife in spite and sickness had taken all our assets.  She’d use lawyer for the next five years to punish me and I wondered if ever I’d be no longer the target of her and those others I’d once thought of as friends.  It had been dark days when I saw that cross and reflected back on better financial days when the cost of an $600 or $800 gold pendant would not have been prohibitive by any means. I had prayed for God to help me restore me to where I could help others again rather than be dependent.
And a year or so later working three jobs and paying off the debts my ex and I had created I walked by that store again and saw that same cross.  I’d just been baptized, having made a commitment to Christianity, the religion I’d been raised in and apart of all my life but refused to drop my intellectual criticism and ’surrender’ or ‘accept’ Grace and faith.  Now I had and on that day I purchased that cross. That it had waited for me over a year was important to me too.  I liked the synchronicity in my life. I liked at times that feeling of being in the ‘flow’.  I felt touched by Grace at times, not because I was special but because Grace is.  The world is sacred and at times we can feel that sense of being home within when we get these subtle reminders.
When I was mugged, the next day I’d been able to go to a meeting where I met an Irish man living in Greece who told me that he’d just returned from Israel where he’d had to go to bomb shelters several times because of air raid sirens and Hamaz missile attacks.  He told me that he’d felt safer there because people were together and aware of who the enemy was.  In Athens he’d become increasingly anxious because of the anger in the masses, the corruption of the leadership, the mass migration and attacks like what happened to me. Stealing from tourists was something so stupid as to be like biting the hand that feeds.  People weren’t trying to make things anymore but rather were trying to find a way to steal things that others had made.
Whenever I touched my gold Celtic Cross I had thanked God for my increasing success, for the changes I’d made in my life, for the work I had and did.
Today seventeen years later from that year of changes, I’d had what my Christian Evangelical friend Willie would call some return on the Jabez prayers.  I’d never worn gold before that time but had been told by an old doctor at a meeting that he’d taken to ‘suiting up’ because he said that those he wanted to help didn’t see anything deeper than the superficial at first. It was important to display some of the success we’d be given for their sake.  So I had worn my gold cross and driven my Harley Davidson and dressed in new suits feeling that this little sliver of fortune was not just vanity but ‘attraction’.  For me, all I had were ‘gifts’ of recovery ,gifts from God.
Ganesh, being a devout Hindi, had been able to find regular gold crosses but no Celtic Crosses.  I wanted to replace what was taken with something better to undo the abuse.  When Christian churches have been destroyed by infidels and barbarians the Christians have rebuilt them but better, just as Ganesh built a better security system for his store. We don’t roll over and die.  To hide and take up the fetal position is to ‘identify with the aggressor’ and continue their assault.  Instead one goes forward, replacing what was lost, accepting the path, and using the opportunity for improvement. This was in some way, my way of healing.
In my work I’ve explained to countless women and some men who were raped and attended counselling that they are only healed when they have returned to having joyous sex.  Their assailant wants them to suffer for ever, wants to torture them with bad memories. These animals have told me that they want to be the last man to have sex with the woman so she remembers only them. If I break my leg and fall down I do not consider it healed if I remain in bed the rest of my life, but only thank the doctor when I’m walking again and on my way.  I found too many counsellors in my years of work had taken victims and kept them as such, reliving over and over again the trauma without encouraging and supporting them get on their way.
In the window of this little Londonderry jewelry I saw the gold crosses of “Proudly made in Derry”.  Inside the store a very pretty young woman explained that these gold crosses were replicas of the “High Crosses of Inishowen” the northern district of Ireland where the Mura Cross, Donagh Cross, Cooley Cross, Bodan Cross, West cross, Clonca  and West and East Crosses of Carrowmore were.
She told us that the closest of the crosses, not so far out of our planned drive that day was the Mura Cross in the village of Fahan.  The crosses were 18 carat gold and exquisitely fashioned by the local gold artisans.  I bought that Mura Cross for a few hundred euro because I could and because of all I’ve said before.  I have since that time bought many crosses.  I like buying Bibles too. I find Bibles and crosses make special gifts as well.   Other’s I keep and wear on different occasions.  I appreciate women’s enjoyment of jewelry more now too. Each cross (Christian Bling) carries associations that are uplifting and timely to me.   I was wearing the silver cross I’d bought in St. Patrick Cathedral made with Irish Connemara Marble and took this off to put on the new Mara gold cross.
Part of the joy of Ireland is the persona safety a tourist has. The Irish might kill each other, and that very rarely today, but they really care for you. I have felt so safe here, somewhat like being a child with family.
Laura and I, after my purchase, and her purchase of a silver High Cross, had another adventure before us.
St. Mura had been born in Donegal around 550 ad and died 645 ad. He was appointed Abbot of Fahan  by St. Columba whose disciple he was said to be.  He is said to have written many works including chronicles and a rhymed life of St. Columba which is quoted in the Martyrology of Donegal.  He is the patron saint of the O’Neil clan being descended from the founder.  The monastery was in ancient times known as Othan Mor but after the death of the saint was called Fahan Mura.  He was highly esteemed by Hugh, Head King of Ireland.
The early 7th Century Fahan Mura Cross is located in the graveyard, not in the lower Fahan Church but in the  Upper Fahan St. Mura Church of Ireland church. It is not in the graveyard at the back of that church but across a lane leading off from the road from Letterkeny to Buncrana.
It’s a 6 1/2 foot grave slab. It demonstrates a connection with Scotland where it’s shape is more common. The intertwined ribbon knot work is thought to represent the Tree of Life and the five circles representing fruit. With its roots in the soil and branches in the air the tree represents the connection between heaven and earth. The seasonal cycles of the tree link it with growth, death and rebirth.  At the base of the tree are two figures who might have represented the High King of Ireland and St. Mura, but that is just conjecture.
The old walled graveyard located west of the Rectory, also contains ruins of the 16th century monastery and 17th century church.  The Fahan Mura Monastery was sacked by Vikings in the 10th and 13th centuries and many of the slabs bear coats of arms. The grave of pioneering nurse Agnes Jones is there too with a sign pointing to it beside the sign pointing out the Mura Cross.  Agnes Jones  trained with Florence Nightingale and nursed in the Crimean War.
Typical of Laura and my graveyard adventures we began with only the statement, “You can visit the cross at Fahan.”  Talking with a lovely lady in the Catholic Book Store we learned that ‘you couldn’t miss it. It’s just down the road to Buncrana.”  Everything in Ireland is “just down the road!”
So we drove on the wrong side of the street following the signs to Buncrana. We’d also been told it was just past a petrol station and the graveyard was across the lane from the church.  Entering Fahan I was ecstatic to see the sign Fahan Presbyterian church.on the right hand side of the road pointing to a church on the left hand side.  Missing the lane,  I had to turn around and take a near death turn across oncoming traffic.  I found a parking place beside the church.  Laura and I then looked high and low around this church for the Mura Cross which we feared must be hidden somewhere.  Knowing it was a grave slab I was digging about in the briars along the lane and looking among the cow paddies across the street.  Laura meanwhile was insisting “this can’t be the church because there’s no petrol station.’  So finally, heeding her advice, thinking how can there be two churches in the tiniest village of Fahan I’d forgotten there may well be more churches in Ireland than pubs. Talking with a couple of men I sought out a few houses from the church I learned, “This isn’t that Fahan Church. That Fahan church is another 5 km up the road next to the petrol station."
So we got back in our little Citroen and headed ‘up the road’ till we saw a Petrol Station.  There was no church beside it. We kept on driving.  We had jumped to the entirely false notion that the church was beside, “next to”, as in proximal with it,  when it was another km up the road on the right side. I had another near death turn across traffic into the lane beside the church. With great enthusiasm we saw that this was St. Mura’s Church.  We were there.  Yet again when we searched all the graveyards in the back acre, huffing as we do with these hiking work outs,  and had searched under all the trees and in the briars, with our bending and yoga workouts, we still found no grave.
We were just heading back to the road when I remembered the part of the instructions we’d been told  saying it was across the lane from the church. Sure enough I saw beyond the high hedges an even higher high cross.  “Laura, Laura! “ I called.  And together we walked over to the old walled graveyard.  Sure enough there was the Cross of Mura.  Everything that I’ve written above about the ruins of the Monastery and Church and the grave of the nurse Agnes was as I said. Only at the time we didn’t have an internet connection and hadn’t done a search. We had enough trouble finding the village of Fahan. Yet again it all paid off finding the Mura Cross.
These graveyard adventures are like treasure hunts.  And treasure for the soul indeed because these places are so peaceful and the history comes alive.  And there I was wearing around my neck a bit of gold copied on this very Mura Cross from a trip to Ireland I never could have conceived all those years ago when I bought my first Gold High Cross.
It’s good to be Christian.  It’s good to be a wee bit touched and fay. Laura, as daft as I, enjoys these crazy excursions as much.  It’s the romantic  within us.  W.B. Yeats was all for this sort of adventure.
Reasonable old people, we straightened ourselves up and returned to the car.  We headed down the road to Donegal  where we had a marvellous fish meal at the Harbour Sea Food Restaurant. The chowder was to die for. Now we’re at Galway in the spacious elegant Forster Court Hotel.  Not a person at the restaurant or in this hotel would think that such a normal pleasant older couple as ourselves had spent the day mucking about in graveyards. With age we’ve perfected  our disquises.  Meanwhile my own  Mura Cross rests under my shirt close to my heart.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Siege of Londonderry and the Apprentice Boys, Ireland

After staying a night at the City Hotel in Londonderry we set out to walk around the city. I believe it’s a city made for hiking about.  Lots to see and easy distances.  We lucked out starting with the Siege Museum.  There we met the most pleasant and informative young man, a member of the Apprentice Boys,  who answered a zillion questions from us.  There was a short video of the Siege set up in the Museum as well which we watched. . The Museum was in temporary quarters as the new location was under construction.
Derry had begun as a monastery of St. Columba in the 6th century. It was ravaged by Vikings in 12th and 13th century.  Norman colonists under the Earl of Ulster, Richard de Burgh acquired Derry from the bishop and colonized it.  By 1600 the British had a garrison there. Then the settlement was wiped out by an Irish chief shortly after the flight of the earls.
Just after this, the story goes that King James I made the decision to introduce the ‘Plantations of Ulster” as a civilizing influence on Ireland.  He was having problems with some Scottish and English and wanted to make Ireland protestant.  By colonizing Ulster (plantations) he hoped to prevent further rebellion.  The colonists had to be English speaking and Protestant, the English mostly Anglican, the Scottish mostly Presbyterian.  The local Irish were mostly gaelic speaking catholics at the time.
The flight of the earls had occurred in 1607, with Rory O Donnell l and Hugh O Neil and followers leaving for  mainland Europe. This followed their defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 and of the Nine Year War in Ulster in 1603.  Their leaving ended the old Gaelic order.  Henry VIII had been declared  King of Ireland in 1530 and then it took 60 years before James I had nominal control by 1603.  The flight of the earls consolidated this in 1607.
The city of Londonderry was grated a Royal Charter by James I and built as a walled city.  The St. Columb Cathedral was built in 1633, the first Protestant cathedral erected anywhere in the world following the Reformation (Reformation refers to the Protestant Schism from the Catholic Church started by Martin Luther’s Ninety Five theses in 1517).
The confusion for me regarding the Siege of Londonderry  was with James I and James II. James I had founded the plantations and Londonderry.  Elizabeth I died ending the Tudor dynasty which King Henry VIII was part of.  King James I was the beginning of the Stuart dynasty.
King James II is a whole other kettle of fish. This is what our young Apprentice boy sorted out for us.  King James II was the grandson of King James I.  James despite having converted to Catholicism, became King of England and attempted treat Catholics and Protestants the same much to the dismay of the English.
The “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 was between James II and Protestant William of Orange married to James' Protestant daughter, Mary.  James II was later defeated at the Battle of Boyne, July 1, 1690.   Protestant Cromwell had invaded and conquered Ireland between 1649 and 1653. seizing Irish Catholic land.  The Irish Catholics were loyal to James in hope of regaining their land. James' Viceroy in Ireland Richard Talbot wanted the Irish strongholds to be loyal to James.  All were except Enniskillen and Londonderry.
The Protestants retreated to Londonderry en mass during this time.    Lord Antrim was about to replace the garrisons of Enniskillen and Londonderry with men more trustworthy to James.  To this end 1200 Scottish Catholic “Redshanks” were marched to Derry.  They were just a short distance away.
It was 1688 and James was still king.  On December 7, 1688, Thirteen Apprentice Boys of Londonderry seized the city keys and locked the gates.  December 10,  King James fled London to France.  February, 1689, William and Mary were crowned. In March James landed in Kinsale (on Ireland’s south coast) with 6000 French troops. He took Dublin then marched north with an army of French and Irish Catholics.
The Londonderry City Governor, Lt Colonel Robert Lundy, had turned away Colonel Cunningham’s reinforcements saying that Londonderry  would surrender. However when a meeting was called to discuss surrender the citizens grew angry.  Lundy in disguise with others took a ship and fled to Scotland.  To this day Lundy’s name is synonymous with cowardice. He is burned in effigy each year in Londonderry.
The city’s defence was taken over by Major Baker, Colonel Murray and Major Walker whose slogan was “No Surrender”.  To this day, No Surrender has been the Protestant slogan in Ireland.
King James and his Jacobite (Catholic) forces rode up to within three hundred yards of Bishops Gate, Londonderry and demanded surrender of the city.  The Williamite (Protestant) forces in Londonderry called back “No Surrender”  and fired at him.  Cannon and mortar fire were used in the day.  The biggest cannon on the Londonderry wall was called Big Meg.   The River Foyle  was blockaded with a heavily defended boom  preventing ships coming to the city.
The Siege lasted 105 days.  Starvation, disease and war caused the death of thousands.
 In the Apprentice Boys museum there was a listing of the cost of dog, cat and rat meat from the actual siege.
On July 28, the heavily armed Mountjoy merchant ship protected by the Royal Navy Dartmouth frigate under John Leake rammed and breached the boom .  The ships merchant ships Phoenix and Mountjoy then unloaded tons of food, relieving the siege.
James II would go on to be defeated by King William III (Prince of Orange) at the Battle of Boyne July 1, 1690. King William, King of England, Ireland and Scotland is affectionately known in Scotland and Northern Ireland as “King Billy”.   The “Orange Order”  have had a parade to celebrate the winning of this Battle of Boyne by King William every July 12 . (The date July 12 is chosen because of  the change in calendar in the 18th century).
The Apprentice Boys of Derry Club was formed in August 1st, 1714. It is a commemorative club that requires members to be first male, and second Protestant.  Our young Apprentice Boy explained that they were not as political as the Orange men.  Some Orange Men actually called Apprentice Boys Lundy for being conciliatory.   The Apprentice Boys hold an annual march August 12 to commemorate the lifting of the siege. During the Troubles the Apprentice Boys march through the Bogside area resulted in them being stoned and returning stones thrown till a riot broke out that spread to Belfast. Several citizens died.  In recent years there has been no violence . The Maiden City Festival was created in 1998 to place the Apprentice Boys of Derry Commemorations in the wider context of Protestant culture and reduce alienation within the Derry Council Area.
(The information for the above has come from Wikipedia and other History On line sources, plus plaques at the sites, and the reference material from the Siege museum, the excellent video and the patient answering of questions by one of the Apprentice Boys.  He further explained that there were branches in Scotland, Canada, England and Ireland but that to become an Apprentice Boy you had to come in person to Derry to be sworn in. There are 3 branches in Canada that he knows of. )
IMG 9649DSCN5409IMG 9647DSCN5421DSCN5399DSCN5354

Londonderry, Ireland's Wall City

We decided to see the Giant’s Causeway another visit.  Getting there would have meant doubling back from where we were. There is just too much to see on a single trip. Everywhere we turn there’s something else. We’d already decided to forego seeing most of the south of Ireland.  Having already made such cold hearted and calculating decisions about places like Limerick and Waterford, the Giant’s Causeway wasn’t so bad.
We drove onto Londonderry.  We’re still getting used to driving on the left hand side of the road.  Laura’s helpful screams “left, left’ are coupled with the occasional white knuckled wide driver opposite to me utterly unprepared for a game of car chicken, having really intended just to drive down the street for some milk or something.  I did a left circuit of Londonderry till I came round and saw City Hotel again and a parking lot.
I left Laura with the Citroen while I confirmed they had rooms and got us a night.  Very modern accommodation.  For once, faster reliable wifi.  Having unloaded our bags we made a brisk walk along the picturesque quayside.  The Quild Hall is truly impressive. I loved the red brick.  It was across from the wall of the city and boys were playing soccer using this great expanse of 16th century wall to kick their ball against.
We cross the Peace Bridge, a shiny modern architectural visually corkscrewing wonder. The other side seemed a bit dull and poor.  I like walking through a city as it gives a flavour.  It was evening and the shops were closed. Nothing much happening.  We crossed back on another bridge and crossed through a gate in the wall.  Walking up on the wall we saw cannons and the new construction going on by St. Columb church.  Outside the wall some young people had built a fire by a No Surrender sign. We bought Kebabs and ate this messy delicious feast watching tv in our room.
It was a pleasant first night in Londonderry.