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Visiting The Fountain

by Leslie Simmons 

Our program has ended and most of us have been away from Derry-Londonderry for day a now, but I just wanted to share some photos of The Fountain. This is an area that few of us actually visited while there. It’s a Loyalist/Unionist/Protestant neighborhood with the motto of “No Surrender” -  a reference to the Siege of Derry when King James’ fighters launched a cannonball into the walled city that was hollowed out and contained the terms of a surrender. The response of the Williamites – the Protestants – who were fighting? “No surrender.”
It is an interesting stretch of road we walked. Entering through Bishops Gate at the so-called Peace Wall. We initially wanted to go to the music located in the ancient tower there. It was closed. So Dr. Kelleher walked us through the neighborhood and pointed out some of the murals and some history of the neighborhood.
The images we saw included every stretch of curb is painted with the colors of the Union flag – red, white & blue. (And as classmate Kyle, an engineer, pointed out, each color is perfectly measured.) There were also some murals that really pushed the Never Surrender message, including some at a chlidren’s center.
The day before the visit to The Fountain, I walked through the Creggan, which is on the other side of town and is a Republican/Catholic neighborhood. I ran into some sidewalks painted orange, white and green (the color of the flag of the Republic of Ireland), but it wasn’t as consistent as the curbs The Fountain.

I wish all my fellow classmates could have visited and seen this neighborhood. We know Belfast is having some big problems right now. But the visit really drove the point that there is still tension in Derry-Londonderry

No Surrender in The Fountain
The visit to The Fountain came on the last day of our program this last Saturday. At a celebration, we were treated to the music of Roy Arbuckle, who comes from The Foundation and even recorded a CD titled “Songs from The Fountain.” Roy’s music is about peace and love – such a sharp contrast to some of the imagery you see and feel in The Fountain. 

Painted sidewalks in The Fountain.
The monument to the Williamites who died during the Siege of Derry.

The small museum at the Peace Wall on the Loyalist side.
The so-called Peace Wall at sunset. To the left, Loyalists. To the right, Nationalists.

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