People in Derry are still talking about the 1680s…it is bad to be a “Lundy,” namely a traitor to your cause but the bar here has become a high one. You are either with them or against them.
The 17th century city wall seems fully intact, the buildings are splendid, and the green, wet, and hilly natural setting is a perfect fit. The town is long on history, short on things to do. It is perfect for a two-day trip.
I witnessed a Loyalist parade — the men were not feminized, nor did they seem happy. It is now so much “common knowledge” that Britain really does not care about them. So what is their future and with whom? Given differential birthrates, Catholics seem headed to become a majority in NI as well.
Most of the city centre is Catholic, and unlike Belfast it is not difficult to imagine Derry rather easily being swallowed up by the Republic of Ireland, some of which even lies to the north of Derry.
I went to see where Bloody Sunday occurred in 1972, and it shocked me how small the “contested territory” is/was. It feels as if you can count each and every home, and one’s mind starts wandering to the Coase Theorem and Hong Kong real estate billionaires and Special Enterprise Zones.
Real estate in Northern Ireland seems dramatically underpriced, though along a thirty-year rather than a ten-year time horizon. But should you buy closer to Belfast?
In some ways Derry reminded me of parts of West Virginia, including the Scots-Irish faces, the bygone glories, and also the “every family has an addiction” signs in the center of town.
One hundred years ago, in 1921, who would have thought that joining with the Irish Republic would lead to more prosperity than joining with Britain? Therein lies a cautionary note for us all.