Memory and Meaning in Derry

In Derry, Northern Ireland, the presence of the past is everywhere — in the stories, in the songs, in the streets. While Derry is known for its role in the Northern Ireland civil rights movement and as the site of Bloody Sunday, its longer history is just as fascinating and helps us understand how communities maintain their identity in the face of turmoil.

Join historian Margo Shea to explore Derry during the decades before the Troubles and learn how people, without much in the way of financial resources or political power, made their mark and held their own by drawing on the past. Memory was crucial to Derry’s Catholic residents. Expressions of memory did much more than simply explain the past. They illuminated a way forward. Drawing on the past was a strategy for Derry Catholics to sustain their communities, to reflect their experiences, and to change their fortunes in the face of a partitioned Ireland and the many changes that came with it after 1921, when they found themselves on the “wrong” side of the Irish border. With Margo, consider the civil rights movement in Derry as an extension of the nationalist community's history instead of as a major break from it.

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