Thursday, August 11, 2022

'Cruinniú na mBád' and the Galway Hooker - From the Archives

This week sees the return of the Cruinniú na mBád Festival in Kinvara. Now in its 42nd year since its revival in the late 1970s, the Festival attracts up to one hundred of the famous Galway Hooker boats, among many others, as part of a celebration marking the tradition and rich history of the Galway Hooker and of sea faring along the West coast.

The boats, with their distinctive sails, are synonymous with Galway and the West of Ireland. Within the Archives of the Library are numerous collections which make reference to and document various histories and information about the history of the boat and its connection to the sea and the people. Material is present in the digitised journal, Rural Ireland, published by Muintir na Tíre, The Tim Robinson Archive includes a photograph of a Galway Hooker from 1953 and the Heinrich Becker Collection has numerous photographs of the boats across the Claddagh and Galway Bay in the 1940s.

G22_59_1_002 From Heinrich Becker Archive

Within the Bob Quinn archive are a number of archive images from previous Cruinniú na mBád at Kinvara. A contact sheet of images is present from the Kinvara festival in 2002. Quinn is a famous Irish film-maker and photographer who has a well renowned list of award-winning films and documentaries. Poitín (1978) was the first feature film made entirely in Irish. The film starred Cyril Cusack, Donal McCann, and Niall Tóibín.

From the Quinn archive of photographs are these images from the 2002 Cruinniú na mBád which show the Galway Hooker in full sail and with the locals enjoying the festivities.

Bob Quinn was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts by NUI Galway in a ceremony in April 2022. The full catalogue of the Bob Quinn Photographic Archive is online here.

P99_4_13 - Galway Hooker at Kinvara, 2002. Bob Quinn Archive

P99_4_13 - Galway Hooker at Kinvara, 2002. Bob Quinn Archive

P99_4_13 - Galway Hooker at Kinvara, 2002. Bob Quinn Archive

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Patricia Burke Brogan - An Archive of a "Renaissance Woman".

Patricia Burke Brogan (c) Joe Shaughnessy

The playwright, poet, and artist, Patricia Burke Brogan is to receive the Freedom of Galway City in a ceremony on Friday 20th May. Burke Brogan is widely regarded for her writing which always dared to speak of an often hidden Ireland, and which through poetry or the stage, gave presence and voice to neglected and marginalised women’s voices. The Patricia Burke Brogan archive, containing annotated drafts and scripts of her plays, notes on her writings, correspondence, programmes, posters and press cuttings about her work from Ireland and around the world, along with other collected items, is deposited at the NUI Galway Library Archive.

Burke Brogan’s most well-known play is Eclipsed, which opened on 11 February 1992 in Galway, produced by Punchbag Theatre Company. The play is framed by a present-day prologue and epilogue, the play is set in 1963 in a convent laundry at St. Paul's Home for Penitent Women in Killmacha, Ireland. Eclipsed explores the practice of making pregnant and unwed Irish mothers work as 'penitents' in church-run laundries. Supervised by nuns who regarded these women as mindless vessels of evil, the women were treated as virtual slaves and their infants were forcibly put up for adoption.

Programme from Eclisped, 1992, Burke Brogan Archive,
NUI Galway Library Archives

Following its initial run in Galway the play toured to Project Arts Centre, Dublin and the Richard De Marco Gallery Theatre, Edinburgh. Recent Irish and international revivals were produced by Mephisto Theatre Company at the Town Hall Theatre, Galway in 2013, and later international productions include at the Spiegeltheater performance season in Belgium in March 2015. The play had its American première at the Worcester Forum Theatre in 1994 and was also later produced at the Seattle Fringe Festival in 1995 at the Irish Rep Theatre in New York in 1999. Eclipsed won a prestigious Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1992 as well as being nominated for numerous awards at the Los Angeles Are Theatre Awards 1995. Her poetry has been widely published, with volumes including Above the Waves/Calligraphy (1994) published by Salmon Press.

Notes by Burke Brogan within her archive at NUI Galway state:

Under double lock in pious laundry-cages, the “fallen women” of Ireland, unmarried mothers, who had broken the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, washed the stench from our clothes. Betrayed by lovers, signed in by parents, the women were also separated from their children, who were either taken for adoption or enclosed in industrial schools. In the laundries, the only shelters available to the penitents, they lived a Spartan and loveless existence. Those who became institutionalised remained inmates for life and buried in nameless graves.

In 1990, when the Galway Magdalen Laundry building was being demolished, Burke Brogan wrote a poem entitled Make Visible the Tree. A section of the poem together with a limestone sculpture of a Magdalen Woman were unveiled by the author with the sculptor Mick Wilkins on International Women’s day in Galway in 2009. In the poem Burke Brogan wrote:

This is the Place of Betrayal.

Roll back the stones

behind madonna blue walls.

Make visible the tree.

Burke Brogan has long standing links with the University. She was part of the then U.C.G. Writers Workshops, which brought together leading contemporary Irish writers for talks and literary workshops, along with Thomas Kilroy, John McGahern, and others. In 2015 Burke Brogan was awarded an honorary degree by NUI Galway for her contribution to the Arts.#

L - R, Charlie Byrne, Professor James Browne, Patricia Burke Brogan pictured at NUI Galway on the occasion of Honorary Conferring in 2015.

Other materials collected within the Burke Brogan archive include an annotated script for another play, Stained Glass at Samhain (Sister Luke’s Story), first performed at the Town Hall Theatre, Galway in 2002. Set at Halloween in the1990s, the play depicts Sister Luke, a former Mother Superior of the nearby Magdalen Laundry, and who returns to her convent, as the convent buildings are about to be demolished to make way for new apartments.

The memory of Sister Luke’s life, within the Laundry and of her own reflections, are explored within the play. Playwright Thomas Kilroy, speaking at the launch of the publication of the play at the Town Hall Theatre Galway, said “It is a wonderful thing to come across a truly visionary play, a poetic play and a play which used the stage in a very interesting kind of way... I found it very moving and I was even more moved by the silence, the fact that they were talking about those unknown, unrecognised, unnamed graves.”

Excerpt from archived annotated script of Stained Glass at Samhain.
Patricia Burke Brogan Archive, NUI Galway

Speaking at the launch of Burke Brogan’s Memoir with Grykes and Turloughs in 2014, Sabina Higgins commented in her speech, a copy of which is in the archive, that “Patricia emerges as a renaissance woman. The breath of her knowledge and achievement is no many branches of life is both wonderful and impressive.” The archive is a richly detailed insights into one of Galway and Ireland’s most important contemporary writers. Today, students, and scholars of NUI Galway, as well as visiting international researchers and artists, from Brazil to the U.S.A., have consulted the archive and utilised it within new research and productions, ensuring the life’s work of Burke Brogan across the arts and to Irish social and cultural history, is continuing to reach new audiences, informing new generations, and to keep the voices and experiences in particular of the Magdalene women, alive and known to all who read her work.

The catalogue of the Patricia Burke Brogan Archive can be searched online here.  

Covers of first editions of poetry books written by Patricia Burke Brogan

Monday, April 25, 2022

Eoghan Ó’Tuairisc - The Archive of a Bilingual Writer


Born in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway in April 1919, Eoghan Ó’Tuairisc (Eugene Watters) was a bilingual writer, with a prolific output through both Irish and English, of poetry, stories, prose, novels and plays. He was educated at Garbally College in his home town of Ballinasloe before joining the army in 1939. His parents were Thomas Watters, a shoemaker, who had been wounded at the Battle of the Somme in France during the First World War, where he was a member of the Connacht Rangers. And his mother was Maud Watters (née Sproule), was a seamstress and clairvoyant.

Following his time in the army, Ó’Tuairisc enrolled in St. Patrick’s College where he trained to be a teacher. The college was run through Irish and which further extended his fluency. He qualified as a primary school teacher in 1939. He later undertook an M.A. at University College Dublin, graduating in 1947. Ó’Tuairisc married the artist Una McDonnell in 1945 but who died suddenly in 1965. Following a period of personal and artistic withdrawal, Ó’Tuairisc married the poet Rita Kelly in 1972. He was the recipient of numerous literary awards throughout his life for his bi-lingual writing and was also elected a member of Aosdána.

Ó’Tuairisc won the Hyde Memorial Award for his early novel, L’Attaque, in 1962. In 1964, his book of Irish poetry, Lux Aeterna again won the award. In 1966, Dé Luain won the American Cultural Award and a stage-play, Lá Fhéile Michíl won the Oireachtas prize. Ó’Tuairisc is associated with a number of theatres in Dublin and Galway, such Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, who staged his 1974 play, An Hairyfella in Ifrinn. He also won an Oireachtas prize for his play Aisling Mhic Artáin in 1977. As well as having works staged at An Damer theatre in Dublin, Ó’ Tuairisic also contributed to work at the Peacock stage and the main stage of the Abbey Theatre, such as Táinbocú, written by Ó’Tuairisc, Criostiór Ó Floinn and Gabriel Rosenstock (1979), and the political revue, A State Of Chassis (1970) with John D. Stewart and Tomas MacAnna.

The Ó’Tuairisc archive at NUI Galway Library comprises twenty-six boxes of materials which documents Ó’Tuairisc’s literary and personal life, including manuscripts, drafts of work, correspondence with family, correspondence with Irish writers, editors and publishers, posters and programmes, photographs and a range of other material from the literary life over a number of decades. Files of letters are present from the likes of David Marcus, a long-time editor of Ó’Tuarisc at the Irish Press and Poolbeg Press, Tomás MacAnna at the Abbey Theatre, and other publisher of his poems and plays, such as Mercier Press.

As well as letters from leading Irish writers, from Martín Ó’Direán to John McGahern, early manuscripts and drafts of novels, such as a memorandum book containing notes on characters and the order of chapters for a novel, which later became "An Lomnochtán" (recently translated by Mícheál Ó hAodha and published in English as “I am Lewy” by Bullaun Press), a commemorative work on the 1916 Rising, and numerous drafts, treatments, outlines, and research files, all capturing the literary process of Ó’Tuairisc. The archive is accessible at NUI Galway Library and the catalogue can be searched online here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Joyce's Masterpiece in Print - Ulysses: A Century Later


James Joyce's Ulysses
Shakespeare and Co., Paris.
Special Collections, NUI Galway Library

As Leopold Bloom began his odyssey around Dublin with the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses, on 2nd February 1922, so too began the story of the one of the most famous novels in all of English literature. Ulysses has captivated and confounded readers for a century since it was first published by Sylvia Beach in Paris and at her Shakespeare and Company bookshop. Within Special Collections of NUI Galway Library is a rare fourth printing of the novel.

Sylvia Beach’s first printing in February 1922 of the novel ran to 1,000 numbered copies. The second printing by Egoist Press took place in London in October 1922 and ran to 2,000 numbered copies, with 500 of those famously burned by U.S. Post Office authorities. Egoist Press ran a third printing of the book with a further 500 copies in January 1923, with all but one sole copy of these being seized by Customs.

Printing run and previous editions. 
4th Printing

This fourth printing returns the story of Ulysses back to where it began, in Paris, and at Shakespeare and Company. The edition still contains the original packing slip from Beach’s shop, advertising it as a “Bookshop and Lending Library – Modern English and American Literature”. It was priced at 60 francs. At the end of the novel is a list of “Additional Corrections” with changes and edits made to the text. It was printed in Paris in January 1924, just before the book’s second anniversary.

Original packing slip from Shakespeare and Company bookshop, Paris, run by Sylvia Beach.

The book’s impact on reading, readership, language, and literature is unquantifiable. The edition is in excellent condition and a reminder of the power of words and reading to bring readers together to celebrate a novel a century after it was first published. The 4th printing of Ulysses is currently on display at the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room, Hardiman Building.

Front Cover, Ulysses, 4th printing
NUI Galway Library

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Letters on Bloody Sunday - The International Response - From the Kevin Boyle Archive


As the news reached international media of the killings of thirteen (and soon to be fourteen) civil rights marchers in Derry on Bloody Sunday, 30th January 1972, by British parachute regiment forces, international response and condemnation would follow from many quarters. As an Executive Council member of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), many figures wrote to Kevin Boyle in the weeks and months that followed, and also in a direct personal capacity, offering sympathy to Boyle on the killings, and in condemning the atrocity that happened.

Murray Sayle, an Australian journalist and foreign correspond with the Sunday Times, wrote to Kevin in June 1972 thanking him for a piece he had written. Sayle adds that “I suppose one day we will learn what really happened on B[loody] Sunday. However, it certainly takes its place with Amritsar, Sharpville, etc. as a turning point”. Sayle, originally from Sydney, Australia, was foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times in the 1960s and early 1970s. Through his career he reported on wars and conflict in Pakistan, Vietnam, and the Middle East.

Letter from Murray Sayle to Kevin Boyle, 2 June 1972. 
Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway Library

Sayle travelled to Derry on the night of the 30th January 1972 and reported directly from the scene in the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday killings, reporting that the soldiers were not fired upon first, as they had reported. The Sunday Times refused to print Sayle's report. The journalist quit the paper later in 1972 in protest to this editorial decision. The letter to Boyle, on Sunday Times headed paper, brings an international dimension to the Bloody Sunday to other colonial-era massacres, such as at Amritsar, India, where over one thousand peaceful protesters were killed by British army forces in 1919, and Sharpville, South Africa, where sixty-nine black marchers were killed by police officers while peacefully protesting the Pass Law system. (Boyle later reported on the Pass Law system in South Africa in the 1980s for Amnesty International, having researcher and lectured extensively on the human rights and legal failings of the Apartheid regime in South Africa.)

On February 12th, less than two weeks after Bloody Sunday, Friedel Malter, wrote to Edwina Stewart, Secretary of the NICRA, from Berlin, expressing condemnation of the killings in her capacity as Chair of the GDR Human Rights Committee:

“On behalf of the citizens of the German Democratic Republic, the Committee for Human Rights condemns the cruel terror of the British Army against the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland which found its most brutal expression so far in the assassination of 13 civil rights marchers in Derry”.

Telegram from Friedel Malter to Kevin Boyle
Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway Library

Malter continues in her telegram to state that “we follow with great interest and deep sympathy the struggle of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland for attaining their political, social, and national rights”. Malter concludes the letter by lending demands for “the immediate release of all civil rights fighters detailed in concentration camps [in Northern Ireland]. Malter was an anti-fascist activist, communist, and trades unionist who had been detailed in German concentration camps during the Second World War.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers also contacted Boyle with days of Bloody Sunday. Writing to Boyle at the Law Faculty, Queen’s University, Belfast, the organisation updated that after “the tragedy of Londonderry” they had issued a press statement demanding “immediate measures to prevent further escalation in repression and breaches of civil rights [in Northern Ireland]”. Later the next week, the American Congress on Irish Freedom, through its Chair, James Heaney, sent a letter on behalf of the ACIF to “all United Nations Delegations”, and urged the UN to intervene “to end the senseless slaughter” in the wake of Bloody Sunday.

Letter from Joe Nordmann, International Association of Democratic Lawers
Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway

Letter from James C. Heaney, American Congress on Irish Freedom to Kevin Boyle
Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway

The letters that feature here are a sample from wider files within the archive of Kevin Boyle at NUI Galway Library that show the international response by a variety of groups and individuals to Bloody Sunday. Within his role as PRO for the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, Boyle was at the forefront of formulating a response in the midst of the grief and outrage at the killings. Boyle own response to the Widgery Report (published in April 1972 to investigate the events of Bloody Sunday) would come later that year in the form of his paper: “Widgery: A Critique”. The paper takes a legal and human rights perspective on dismissing and dismantling Widgery’s findings. Boyle opens the paper by defining what ‘a whitewash’ is. He undermines Widgery by critiquing the findings on three avenues of investigation: “What was the British Army’s plan for dealing with the N.I.C.R.A. march on 30th January in Derry? [2] What were the consequences of implementing that plan? [3] Was the plan justified?”.

"Widgery: A Critique" by Kevin Boyle, 1972
Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway

Extract from "Widgery: A Critique" by Kevin Boyle (NICRA)
Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway

Boyle's paper was published by the NICRA and a copy is within one of the thousands of files within over 120 boxes of manuscripts and papers which form his archive at NUI Galway. The papers which relate to Northern Ireland and the Civil Rights Movement are a hugely detailed record of not just Boyle’s perspective but also those of his many colleagues and fellow activists from the NICRA, PD, and many regional civil rights branches across Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s. The catalogue of the papers can be searched online here.

For more on Boyle’s life and career, the biography “Are You With Me - Kevin Boyle and the Rise of the Human Rights Movement” is written by Mike Chinoy and published by Lilliput Press.

For previous posts in this series, see: 

Remembering Bloody Sunday: Kevin Boyle and the lead up to 'the Derry march', January 1972

Local Responses to Bloody Sunday - Material from the Boyle Archive

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Local Responses to Bloody Sunday - Material from the Boyle Archive

 In the wake the killing of fourteen unarmed civilians by British paratrooper regiment in Derry, January 30th 1972, local and international reaction is captured in a range of material within the Kevin Boyle archive. Regional civil rights associations across Northern Ireland met and discussed responses following the shootings. This flyer, from the Newry Civil Rights Association, Co. Down (Boyle was born in Newry in 1943) advertises a march its association organised in response to the Bloody Sunday Killings. 

Flyer for march in Newry, Co. Down, 1972. 
Kevin Boyle Archive NUI Galway

The marchers are instructed that the march will take place "in total silence in honour of the Derry dead", with further instructions that "Silence and discipline will be our watch-words". The organisers make clear all is intended as a peaceful march and not seeking to initiate or provoke any response or confrontation with the British Army. 

On the 9th March 1972, the South Derry Civil Rights Association held its Annual General Meeting in Bellaghy, Derry. Coming less than six weeks after Bloody Sunday, reaction to the killings was high on the agenda. A copy of the minutes of that AGM meeting was kept by Boyle and is present within his archive. Boyle attended the meeting and addressed the audience in his capacity as a member of the NICRA Executive Committee. As is recorded in the minutes, two days' mourning was observed on 1st and 2nd of February "for the victims of the Bloody Sunday Massacre in Derry". The minutes offer a detailed account of the CRA activities in Derry. Bellaghy, as venue for the AGM was one of the new CRA branches established, along with Castledawson, Maghera, Lavery, among other locations. Updates on the impacts of the Rent and Rates strike were given at the meeting, with notices that tenants in a number of locations who refused to pay rent as part of the strike were served with eviction notices. Protests erupted outside the courthouse where the tenant's cases were heard. 

Excerpt from minutes of AGM of South Derry Civil Rights Association, 9 March 1972
Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway

Also recorded in the minutes is an report on "Attitudes to Military": "We asked that security forces be ostracised by the people of south Derry. There are numerous instances of harassment, intimidation, and callousness by members of the British Army, U.D.R., and R.U.C." Further details of the firing of rubber bullets into a crowd of protesters at Swatragh, Derry, were recorded. 

The minutes conclude in stating gratitude "to all those who have helped us in our efforts to expose and eliminate injustices and who have supported our struggle for a free and just society" 

All these items and other files relating to Bloody Sunday, and the wider Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland are available in the Kevin Boyle Archive

Excerpt from minutes of AGM of South Derry Civil Rights Association, 9 March 1972
Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Remembering Bloody Sunday: Kevin Boyle and the lead up to 'the Derry march', January 1972

Professor Kevin Boyle

The civil rights march in Derry on 30th January 1972 and which would ultimately become known as ‘Bloody Sunday’ was first suggested by Kevin Boyle, an executive member and press officer for the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA). Born in Newry, Co. Down, in May 1943, Boyle was a central figure and witness to the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland. Boyle’s biographer, Mike Chinoy, also positions Boyle at the centre of the rise of the human rights movement, not just in Ireland but internationally. A skilled orator, lecturer, barrister and academic, Boyle was the first full-time Professor of Law at NUI Galway (then UCG), in 1977, before becoming the founding director of the international NGO, ‘Article 19’, working on Freedom of Expression in the mid-1980s.

Boyle held numerous roles through the 1980s and 1990s, reporting on human rights abuses for Amnesty international, from South Africa, to Somalia, and the Gambia, as well as taking many cases to the European Court for Human Rights at Strasbourg. Later Professor and director of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, Boyle’s (who died in 2010) vast archive is located at NUI Galway Library. Within it, are records not just of the NICRA (main executive committee and regional branches), People’s Democracy, and files of personal correspondence from the years and months through the late 1960s and 1970s, all which documents Northern Ireland political and social history from Boyle’s direct viewpoint and experiences.

Hugh Logue has written:

At the outset of 1972 a programme of events, including marches, was drawn up by NICRA. It was Boyle’s idea to hold a march in Derry on the last Sunday of January 1972. North Derry Civil Rights, of which I was vice-chairman, would organise, one week before the Derry event, a march on the Magilligan internment camp. Since access by road was banned, the march went along Magilligan beach, where John Hume, who was to be our main speaker, confronted the British army commander on the beach near the camp. Those British soldiers were members of the infamous parachute regiment that would wreak such havoc in the Bogside eight days later Bloody Sunday.

Boyle was not present on the day of the march in Derry on 30th January 1972. In his statement to the Saville Enquiry Boyle outlined his memories of the lead up to the march. Boyle’s archive provides a remarkable insight into Boyle’s own role but also his memories of the events leading up to Bloody Sunday in 1972.

The inaugural meeting of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association took place in 1967. Boyle became active in the group in the following year. “ . . . after the march in Dungannon on 5th October 1968 . . . After that, the People’s Democracy (“PD”) was established by the students (of Queens University, where Boyle was then a lecturer) and I made the conscientious decision to join. PD was essentially an alliance of student socialists and the unaligned.” In the period following this and up to 1972, Boyle recounts “a polarisation” in public opinion. Boyle took a more public role and spoke at demonstrations, such as in Armagh. Becoming more disassociated with PD following the Apprentice Boy’s march in August 1969, Boyle took greater interest in the NICRA from the middle of 1970. (Boyle had previously been elected to the NICRA Executive in 1969 at the NICRA AGM held at St. Mary’s Hall, Belfast).

Photograph of undated Civil Rights, Northern Ireland. 
From Professor Kevin Boyle Archive, NUI Galway.

By December 1971, Boyle recounts the NICRA plans to hold more marches but also while recognising the risks that such events would bring. “It was clear the Rent and Rates Strike was not having the desired effect, and that we needed to do something more . . . the question of marching was mooted”. Boyle clarified that while some disquiet among the NICRA Executive as to where the marches would be held, “the decision that we took in December 1971 was taken reluctantly against an increasing background of violence. However we felt the pressure against the authorities needed to be stepped up”.

A meeting of the NICRA Executive was held on 14th January 1972, where plans for the Derry march were discussed. A date of 16th January was first discussed for the march before it being eventually postponed until 30th January. Boyle discusses the early planning of the March in more detail, from its stewarding to its route and rerouting through the city of Derry, being aware of risks from Unionist protesters against the Civil Rights march. “We would have been concerned that sectarian violence would result from the confrontation and this is probably why we chose to ensure that the march went to Free Derry Corner and not to Guildhall Square”. As Boyle further clarified, despite being central to the early planning of the march, and on wider matters of civil disobedience and peaceful protest during his time with the NICRA, what would unfold on ‘Bloody Sunday’ was not within the expectations of the Executive, nor did Boyle travel to Derry for the march:

At the time, no one had a sense that something major was going to happen at the march in Derry. For example, I was not present at the march, having stayed in Belfast to catch up with some academic work that weekend.

“At the time”, Boyle concluded: “We had no sense of a premonition of serious trouble at the march". When later pressed about his 'conscience' as regards the events on Bloody Sunday, Boyle responded in a considered manner, that: 

What my conscience, how my conscience responds is, is something I'll have to decide for myself, it's a very complicated question. The point I would like to make is that twenty thousand people came to the streets of Derry yesterday. It wasn't three or four hundred people, determined militants who have no sympathy in or with the people. The whole of the Bogside and Creggan communities were on the streets in Derry, they wanted to be on the streets. That seems to me the best answer to those who say that it was irresponsible to organise demonstrations. The people themselves responded and they are the people that we in the end of the day feel responsible to.

In Hugh Logue’s article about Kevin Boyle, he reminds us of the findings and conclusions of Lord Saville and the enquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday and regarding those involved in organising the march:

Lord Saville’s verdict could not have been starker: “The firing by Soldiers of 1 PARA on Bloody Sunday caused the deaths of thirteen people and injury to a similar number, none of whom was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury.” And, he was equally clear: “No blame was placed on the organisers of the march, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.

Boyle’s archive provides a remarkable window into the tragic history and memory of the killings of the civil rights marchers by members of the British parachute regiment. As we approach the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday’, a series of blog posts will examine the material held within Kevin Boyle’s archive, and which offers new insights into the lead up to and response in the wake of Bloody Sunday in Derry in January 1972.