Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Another road trip

Off to Boston, tomorrow, in a last minute packing job. I'm just setting archives into boxes and bringing them back to Buffalo to decide on how to ship them, it's so sudden. Which I don't mind. I like driving and this 1000 mile round-trip may help me time sort out issues about P/S in my brain...because as it currently stands, I'm close to scrapping everything I've done and starting over.

I really do not want to do that.

And, truth be told, I'm overstating the case. What I have for the part in Houston is okay, as are sections of the bit in Derry between 1966 and 1972; it's mainly the chapters leading up to the Battle of Bogside that are in serious question. I'm looking at this world through too American of a lens.

For example, I thought it was rough having 8 people living in a 2 bedroom flat; reality is, it was commonplace for more than twice that many to be in such a house. Mostly kids but more than a few adults. With no indoor pluming or electricity, and cooking over a fire in the hearth...unless you were well-off enough to afford a small gas ring to put on top of a cast iron oven next to the fireplace.

Philip Cunningham's book is proving to be both helpful and intimidating, because his life on Nailor's Row was over by 1952, while Brendan's not even born till 1956. I would think things were a bit better by the 60s. But then again, redevelopment was wiping out huge sections of The Bogside and streets that once held dozens of homes were vanishing while the inhabitants were moved to new, sterile housing in the Rossville Flats or up around the Creegan Estate instead of updating anything. Today's map of the area looks very little like the old maps I've been able to find.

This map is from 1972, and you can see Friel's Terrace is already gone; it was the area just above where Walker's Statue was. In fact, most of Nailor's Row has been have the two rows of similar houses that were just down the hillside from it. But the Free Derry house is still up; now it's just a wall that is used for whatever cause is popular, that day.

I've begun working up my own map, based on descriptions from his books and others...and who knows how accurate they will be? But I need something to anchor the action to. I can't make up the whole damned city.

But then again...maybe I could...

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