Thursday Doors – Bon Voyage

This will be the last of Thursday Doors from Derry for a while and as it has a seaport with a long history, I thought it would be nice to give you a brief glimpse into its interesting past. But first let me show you a portal of a different sort – the door of a double-decker bus. Sorry for such bad light, this photo was shot on my night stroll through the city.


Pyke ’N’ Pommes eatery started out as an adapted street food van in a disused car park, before moving to a semi-permanent pitch by the river Foyle in Derry in 2013. Their food is amazing and if you ever find yourself in the area, you really should give them a try. Since my last visit they’ve acquired this bus as an indoor diner but if it’s raining and there are no seats left on the bus, the covered eating area is still there, so you won’t get wet, or you can get a take-away.

Now for some history. Vikings used the river Foyle to access inland Ireland, whereas the Normans established a stronghold that controlled Derry. With such a fabulous natural port, who could blame them. In 1664, King Charles the second gave responsibility of the port to Londonderry Corporation. Over the next two centuries shipping increased massively due to exports of good, especially linen, and to emigration. As time went by, more and more quays were built and tramways laid to link up with railways connecting the city to the rest of Ireland. Eventually a shipyard was established. Remember that photo I posted a couple of weeks ago of the WW2 battleships?

During WW2 the city’s port became the most important escort base in the United Kingdom due to it’s westerly position. This was where the warships guarding the Atlantic convoys were repaired and maintained. 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the surrender of WW2 German U-boats in Derry. This link will give you an eye witness account, including some old film footage; Surrender

Emigration has always played a big part in Derry’s history, as it has in the rest of Ireland. To commemorate this there are some very touching sculptures along the riverside walk, by artist Eamonn O’Doherty. Here they are in a slideshow, looking even more poignant. They portray a family about to emigrate, with the father looking out to sea and to the future but the mother and children looking back at an elderly couple. How awful it must have been in those days before air travel and cheaper international transport, when saying goodbye on a quay may have been the last you might see of your family.

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The woman lying across the bench with her hand reaching out to the sea, got to me, too.

I hope you enjoyed this latest visit to Derry City, no doubt there will be plenty more to come. If you would like to see a super collection of Thursday Doors, head on over to Norm’s blog.


About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in Art, boats, Britian, food, History, Ireland, photo challenges, social issues, Thursday Doors, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Thursday Doors – Bon Voyage

  1. sydspix says:

    Excellent blog! Enjoyed the history – the BBC link was interesting also. Also the sculpture is quite poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion says:

    This is a very special post, Jean. My paternal grandparents migrated from Syria and it was one of those “off you go, I hope you have a nice life” goodbyes. I can’t imagine what that must have felt like to my grandmother, who was 16 at the time. I love the photos of the sculptures, especially that lady.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The Hook says:

    You bring history to life, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Junieper2 says:

    The sculptures are memorable, and the sculptor did a great job of evoking the feelings of the emigrants. For the last generations my mother’s family has emigrated, from France to Holland, then from Holland to Indonesia, and the next from Indonesia to Holland, and my generation form Holland to America. We were not planning to stay, but it just worked out that way. In my generation it was definitely harder for the ones who stayed behind, than for me/us who had new things in mind. Oh, and almost forgot, two daughters who grew their family here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fascinating sculptures!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Norm 2.0 says:

    As always, so much more than just doors; fascinating history Jean. Sometimes we forget just have good we have things today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marilyn says:

    Thank You for this interesting post.
    Marilyn and Family

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joey says:

    Truly evocative sculptures. A great addition to #ThursdayDoors.

    Liked by 1 person

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